SPOKANE, Wash. -

Senator Patty Murray and Republican challenger Chris Vance squared off Sunday night in their first televised debate of the election season at Gonzaga. 

Republican Chris Vance blamed Sen. Patty Murray for congressional gridlock, saying in a debate that the Democrat is "part of the problem" and that the nation's Capitol "is broken."

Murray, seeking her fifth term, touted her bipartisan work with GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan on solving a 2013 budget impasse and spoke of her efforts to raise the minimum wage and working to invest in education and transportation.

The two met Sunday for their first debate at Gonzaga University in Spokane. Murray was first elected in 1992. Vance is a former state GOP chairman and King County councilman.

 Sen. Patty Murray, seeking her fifth term, meets her Republican opponent Chris Vance in their first debate of the election season.

The two candidates will square off Sunday evening in Spokane at Gonzaga University.

 Murray, A Democrat first elected in 1992, has said if voters return her to the Senate one of her priorities will be higher education and addressing high tuition costs and onerous student loans.

 Vance is a former state GOP chairman and King County councilman. He has blamed Murray for congressional gridlock and for not addressing deficit spending. Early in the campaign Vance dismissed his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump, saying the New York businessman was too divisive.
   
A Republican has not won a U.S. Senate race in Washington state since 1994.