Fighting for a better future. That was the message that echoed the loudest at Zelasko Park in Aberdeen on Saturday, July 23, as upward of 30 people gathered to meet and greet senate hopeful Tiffany Smiley.
Smiley, a former nurse and veteran’s advocate from Pasco, made a campaign stop in Aberdeen over the weekend to promote her candidacy for the U.S. Senate ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election in Washington. She was joined by 19th Legislative District Representative Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen), as well as the Aberdeen Republican Coalition as she spoke to the crowd.
Smiley, a first-time political candidate, stated that her political fight began 17 years ago when her husband Scotty, who was serving a tour overseas in the Army, was gravely injured in a suicide bombing attack in Mosul, Iraq, that left him permanently blind. She says that she pushed for her husband to receive better care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense. As a result, her husband Scotty became the first blind active-duty officer to serve in the U.S. military.
“I didn’t want a handout; I just wanted a hand up. I just wanted to know that two 23-year-olds, whose lives were destroyed, could still fight for the American Dream,” Smiley explained.
She further explained that her fight with the VA led to meetings with politicians on Capitol Hill and that’s when she first “saw the wizard behind the curtain” regarding national politics.
“I found career politicians on both sides of the aisle who were more interested in their special interest-driven agenda and their job security, as in their reelection, than they were just doing what’s right,” Smiley said. “That angered me and emboldened me to never stop fighting and standing up for what’s right.”
When asked why she opted against running as an Independent given her feelings about politicians from both sides of the aisle, Smiley stated she still holds a lot of conservative values from cutting taxes and promoting energy independence, to focusing on crime and homelessness.
Throughout most of Smiley’s speech, she focused her attention on her biggest political challenger, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. She pitched to the crowd how Murray, who is seeking her sixth term as senator, hasn’t done enough for the people in Washington and that change is needed. Smiley cited the rise in crime, homelessness, and economic woes that many Washingtonians are facing as the push that is needed for a different political voice.
“2022 is an important election for all of us in this country,” Smiley said. “If you cannot solve these problems we’re facing in 30 years of public service, then it is time to retire and move on.”
Smiley was adamant to point out legislation and political dealings that Murray has been involved with that have negatively affected Americans. She claims that Murray took maximum donations from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline executives. However, while Murray did receive a maximum donation of $5,800 from former Connecticut state representative and current Nord Stream 2 Lobbyist Vincent Roberti, she did not receive it directly from the pipeline executives.
Smiley, who has been endorsed by prominent politicians, such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also claims she has out-fundraised Murray. FEC documents show while Smiley has raised more than $7 million as of July 13, Murray has raised double that amount at more than $14.3 million dollars. Smiley has not received any SuperPAC donations though compared to Murray.
Although polls are not indicative of a candidate winning, Smiley was quick to divert from addressing how she plans to cut into Murray’s lead in the polls if she advances past the primaries. Recent polls conducted on July 19 show that Murray has a 20-point lead on Smiley.
“My internal polling is the voters of Washington state. If Patty Murray really believed those polls, she wouldn’t be spending millions on ads attacking me,” Smiley stated.
When asked about how Smiley plans to entice undecided voters to her side she says that focuses on being the commonsense candidate and knows deep down that she’s on the right side of the issues in the long term of Washington’s future. Although she is campaigning as a Republican, Smiley seemed to take a moderate approach on controversial issues, such as vaccine mandates and women’s reproductive rights.
“I’m a nurse. I’m for vaccines that are good. I’m not for the government’s overreaching and government mandates,” Smiley explained. “I’ve also long believed that abortion rights belong to the people. I’m all for women having access to contraception and resources and care, and everything that they would need in a time of crisis to make the best choice.”
When asked why she would be the best choice to face Murray in the general election, Smiley simply stated that no one else is as competitive as she is and that she has a track record of helping people regardless of their beliefs.
“I have a proven track record of building coalitions and delivering results. I’ve fought on behalf of every democrat, independent, and republican service member and their families,” Smiley said. “Washington deserves common sense and we can’t have six more years of Patty Murray.”