Sunday, September 25, 2016

Race of the Day- Washington U.S. Senate

43 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

In 1992, Democrat Patty Murray for the U.S. Senate, and despite the fact that had held elective officer, labeled herself as a "Mom in tennis shoes" tired of entrenched incumbents. The strategy paid off in the "Year of the Woman" and she was elected. Now, 24 years later, Murray is just as entrenched as the male Senators she railed against and she is seeking a fifth term for which she is heavily favored. She is poised to be the number two ranking Senate Democrat next year.

Many thought Murray's first election was a fluke, but she has survived efforts to defeat her, especially in the GOP friendly year of 2010 against a touted opponent. I still am amazed she made a comment (and faced no real political consequence) in 2004 saying that Osama bin Laden is popular in the Middle East, because among other things, he "built daycare centers." Washington is solidly Democrat, including on the federal level, and there seems to be no evidence she is remotely in trouble this year.

The state has a somewhat unusual primary system in which all candidates compete in the same August primary and then the top two finishers, now regardless of party, advance to the November general election. This Murray captured a healthy 54 percent in the crowded field. Her closest competitor, finishing way back with just under 28 percent of the vote was Republican Chris Vance. He served a short stint as a State Representative in the early '90s, and a decade later became Washington State Republican Chairman. He was credited for being successful in that role.

Despite the fact his campaign logo bears some resemblance to that of Donald Trump, Vance has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Republican Presidential nominees, among GOP Senate candidates. He has stated he cannot vote for Trump and has described some of his ideas as "insane." The GOP Senate nominee in Washington is facing an uphill enough battle due to the political environment in his state, and his principled stance against Trump might be costing him some support among Trump fans on the right or party organizations who have fallen in line with the Presidential candidate.

Polls show that Murray will likely get a few points above 50 percent, as she did in the primary, and thus win another term, but I applaud Vance for honorably representing conservatism and what the Republican Party should stand for in this unfortunate cycle.

Vance campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far:
10 D (8 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
23 R (9 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 4 Tossup)

Overall predicted thus far: 46 D, 53 R