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Veterans rights leader hauled in nearly $1M last quarter in GOP challenge to Sen. Patty Murray

Tiffany Smiley, the military wife, nurse and first-time Republican candidate who’s running to defeat longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, raised nearly $1 million the past three months.

Smiley’s campaign told Fox News Friday the candidate hauled in $925,000 during the October-December fourth quarter of fundraising, bringing to $2.6 million the total she’s raised since launching her bid last April. 

Figures that the campaign will officially release on Monday also show Smiley with $1.73 million cash on hand as of the end of 2021.

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“I am humbled by the support our campaign has received, not only from my fellow Washingtonians, but also supporters from every state in the nation,” Smiley said in a statement shared with Fox News.

Tiffany Smiley

A file photo of Tiffany Smiley, who launched a Republican Senate campaign in Washington state April 14, 2021.

“With over 21,000 donations and nearly $2.6 million raised since I entered the race last April, it is clear that our message is resonating,” Smiley added. “Every day, I hear from Washington voters who are tired of wasteful spending, rising inflation, rampant homelessness and disappearing jobs and want accountability restored to the federal government.”

Smiley grabbed national attention after her Army officer husband was permanently blinded during an attack in Iraq more than a decade and a half ago. She told Fox News last year that her efforts on behalf of her husband “opened my eyes to the failure of the federal government to protect and support our men and women in uniform.”

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Her push for reforms landed her on national TV and helped to push the Trump administration and Congress to pass reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Former President Trump signed a bill into law in 2017 that gave leadership at the VA more power to fire failed employees and protect those who uncover agency wrongdoing.

Smiley noted that, in her drive for VA reforms, she worked with Murray and longtime GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. But in her statement Friday, she argued that “Murray has been in office for three decades, and the tremendous outpouring of support we have received clearly demonstrates that Washingtonians are tired of the status quo.”

But beating Murray won’t be easy.

Murray, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, won reelection in 2016 by 18 points in reliably blue Washington. The incumbent senator has built a formidable war chest and had nearly $6 million in her campaign coffers as of the end of September. And polling last year indicated the senator holding double-digit leads in hypothetical 2022 matchups.

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But Smiley, who enjoys the backing of the Washington GOP and was endorsed in November by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a decorated Army veteran, points to a poll released this week that suggested Murray only holding a single-digit edge over a generic Republican challenger.

The Senate’s currently split 50-50 between the two major political parties, but the Democrats’ hold the majority thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris through her constitutional role as president of the Senate. That means the GOP needs a net gain of just one seat in November’s midterm elections to regain the majority it lost a year ago when it was narrowly swept in Georgia’s twin Senate runoffs.

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