Sen. Patty Murray will defend her seat in November against a former triage nurse and veterans advocate from Pasco who has the backing of the national Republican Party.
Tiffany Smiley, 41, finished second in votes tallied Tuesday statewide and is headed for a showdown with Murray, the 71-year-old who is seeking her sixth, six-year term in the Senate.
Murray won 54% of the vote, to Smiley's 32%. The ballot listed 18 candidates for the office, but Murray and Smiley had dominated fundraising and wrapped up support of the major political parties ahead of Tuesday's primary.
Smiley is the wife of Scott Smiley, an Army major who was blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005. She has criticized Murray's long tenure in office and is seeking to be the first Republican from Washington state in the Senate since 2001 when Sen. Maria Cantwell defeated the late Slade Gorton. In recent days, the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched an ad attacking Murray and praised Smiley's campaign.
Murray, in a blitz of advertising in Washington state, has attempted to tie Smiley to former President Donald Trump and attacked Smiley's position on abortion.
The longtime U.S. senator outperformed Smiley in Spokane County in Tuesday's returns, winning 44% of the votes counted. Smiley earned 40% in the county.
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