The Washington State Democratic Party's marquee 2022 candidates
The Washington State Democratic Party's marquee 2022 candidates: Patty Murray, Steve Hobbs, Kim Schrier

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s three high­est pro­file 2022 can­di­dates each man­aged to build on their strong Elec­tion Night per­for­mance today, putting more dis­tance between them­selves and their opponents.

With most coun­ties’ sec­ond-day reports in (though not all), Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray’s advan­tage over Tiffany Smi­ley increased from 241,581 votes to 267,763 votes.

Mean­while, in the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er’s lead over Matt Larkin increased from 11,067 votes to 11,357 votes.

And Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs’ lead over Julie Ander­son went from 50,938 votes to 53,370 votes. The num­ber of write-in votes increased by 13,172.

There will be at least two more sig­nif­i­cant counts. After that, the num­ber of bal­lots left to process will be fair­ly small and unlike­ly to alter any outcomes.

Mur­ray, Schri­er, and Hobbs all spoke to an upbeat crowd of Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists and par­ty lead­ers last night in Belle­vue, a mere two blocks away from where Smi­ley and Repub­li­cans had gath­ered for their elec­tion night party.

Since Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki took over, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has held its big elec­tion night gath­er­ing in Belle­vue rather than in Seat­tle, rep­re­sent­ing the par­ty’s com­mit­ment to go on offense and care about every race, every place. The par­ty con­gre­gat­ed at the Belle­vue Hilton four years ago and was at the West­in this year.

Democ­rats won the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict for the first time two years ago and held it last year. If Schri­er wins again this year, the par­ty will have won the dis­trict three con­sec­u­tive times, with two of those elec­tions being midterm cycles.

And that’s despite the 8th being an even­ly-divid­ed “tossup” district.

Mur­ray, mean­while, has now won six con­sec­u­tive times (1992, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2016, and this year), dis­patch­ing a num­ber of well-fund­ed Repub­li­can oppo­nents. Smi­ley, recruit­ed by McConnell to go up against Mur­ray, received plen­ty of sup­port and assis­tance from nation­al Repub­li­cans and became a fundrais­ing jug­ger­naut, pulling togeth­er more than $14 mil­lion for her chal­lenge to Murray.

Smi­ley has thus far refused to con­cede, despite the elec­tion hav­ing been called prompt­ly for Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray after the dead­line to return bal­lots passed.

“It ain’t over, it ain’t over,” Smi­ley said on elec­tion night.

“I am an eter­nal opti­mist,” she told Repub­li­cans. “We’re con­fi­dent that when every legal vote is count­ed, that we could turn the tide here in Wash­ing­ton State.”

That, of course, is wish­ful think­ing. Smi­ley is get­ting sound­ly beat­en and has no path to vic­to­ry. She isn’t even win­ning Clark Coun­ty, long a Repub­li­can bas­tion. Nor is she win­ning sev­er­al of the coastal coun­ties that turned to Trump.

Oper­a­tives for Smi­ley’s cam­paign con­tin­ue to furi­ous­ly send emails, even though the vot­ing por­tion of the elec­tion has come to an end. There’s still an oppor­tu­ni­ty to part fools from their mon­ey, and the Smi­ley team intends to take advantage.

“Bal­lots are still being count­ed in Wash­ing­ton,” declared one appeal trans­mit­ted a few hours ago, non­sen­si­cal­ly adding: “This elec­tion is far from over, so I’m hop­ing you can step up and chip in just $5 to help me fin­ish this fight!”

“I know you’ve done so much to sup­port my cam­paign, and I can’t thank you enough. But right now, the sit­u­a­tion is crit­i­cal. Votes are being count­ed as you read this, so your sup­port has nev­er been more needed.”

“Look, Friend,” it went on, “if there’s just one thing you do today to help save our coun­try, make it chip­ping just $5 or $10 to my cam­paign. Please take this call to action. Help make his­to­ry in Wash­ing­ton and turn cri­sis into hope for all.”

Anoth­er one begged: “I need your sup­port to ensure that we have all resources nec­es­sary to make it through and secure vic­to­ry! The future of Wash­ing­ton hinges on what’s to come. I am ready to serve you. I am ready to make a dif­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton. In order to do that, our momen­tum can’t slow down!”

You would­n’t know from read­ing Smi­ley’s emails that Elec­tion Night had come and gone, or that Smi­ley was hun­dreds of thou­sands of votes behind, or that the cam­paign was los­ing every major coun­ty in west­ern Wash­ing­ton, or that the state had already been called for Mur­ray by major mass media outlets.

Nope… as far as Smi­ley’s oper­a­tives are con­cerned, it’s busi­ness as usu­al. Fundrais­ing time! They’re gonna keep grift­ing until they can’t.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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