#4ThePeople: Murray, Smiley collectively spent over $36 million during campaign

SPOKANE, Wash. — Five days away from Election Night and the race for U.S. Senate is heating up. Tiffany Smiley and incumbent Senator Patty Murray are both grinding away on the campaign trail, with both candidates hoping to expand their voter turnout, and sway any undecided voters as polls show this race tightening up.

Neither candidate is afraid of breaking the bank.

Typically speaking, the candidate spending more funds walks away victorious; in election season, money talks.

“There is a lot of truth to that,” said Dr. Aaron Hitefield, an associate professor at Whitworth University with a Ph.D. in public affairs. His area focus lies with congressional elections. “You have to raise a lot of money and usually you have to raise the most amount of money.”

Both candidates are taking that to heart. Sen. Murray has spent over $21 million, doubling the amount she spent during the 2016 election. Smiley’s campaign has spent $15 million, nearly 10 times the amount spent by Murray’s 2016 GOP challenger.

Neither total includes the millions of dollars in PAC spending.

Though Dr. Hitefield says it’s how you spend that money, along with which voters you target that make the biggest difference.

He says candidates should steer clear of trying to convert voters from their opposing parties and instead focus on partisan voter turnout. He says that’s where Sen. Murray has exceled.

“The Murray Campaign is doing a better job of getting Democratic voters mobilized,” said Dr. Hitefield. “Their campaign ads are really highlighting the need to come out and vote.”

He noted how Smiley’s ads used a different approach.

“They’re trying to predominately turn voters and that’s not as effective of a campaign strategy.”

Though Smiley’s platform of being a fresh face in Washington mixed with her active engagement with voters has propelled her to within striking distance of Sen. Murray.

Both candidates are continuing to travel across Washington, campaigning through Election Day. Smiley was in Spokane Valley on Thursday morning, meeting voters and reaffirming her commitment to challenging big government and combat inflation.

Sen. Murray has spent time in Western Washington discussing gun control policies, as well as her plans to lower the cost of child care in America.

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READ: #4ThePeople: Race for U.S. Senate heating up in Washington