Smiley raises nearly $2 million in bid to unseat Sen. Murray
Republicans gather for dinner, political speeches and auctions
Last updated 11/2/2021 at 11:34pm
ELTOPIA - A local farm girl taking on entrenched Sen. Patty Murray for a U.S. Senate seat has raised almost $2 million in her campaign bid.
Tiffany Smiley added several thousand dollars to her campaign war chest Friday night, Oct. 29, during a gathering of hundreds of anti-Murry, anti-Gov. Inslee residents from Franklin County and nearby communities.
"We have a choice," Smiley said, kicking off her speech. "And our choice begins today."
Smiley was the keynote speaker that included speeches from three candidates seeking to unseat Fourth Congressional District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside.
The event also included a silent, dessert, and firearms auction.
But Smiley's impassioned personal story captured the attention of attendees for about a half-hour.
Smiley was 23 years old and married to her high school sweetheart, Scotty Smiley, when she received a telephone call from military brass informing her that her husband had been critically injured by a suicide bomber in Iraq.
She quit her job and scraped up enough money to travel to Bethesda, Md., to be at his side at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"I didn't know if I was going to meet Scott dead or alive," she said. "But I was going to be there."
At the hospital, she was greeted by staff who said her husband was blind and in a coma, she said. They tried to usher her to quickly sign papers to discharge him from the military.
Her reply, "No."
The trip turned out to be a lengthy ordeal in which she said she tried to get the Veterans Administration to help her husband.
She said she also knocked on the doors of politicians over and over again, only to have them shun her efforts.
"Our politicians are quick to send us to war, but they're not quick to help us," she said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense continued its effort to get Scotty Smiley out of the military.
"The DoD learned the power of a small-town farm girl from Pasco," she said, noting day after day she continued the fight on behalf of not only her husband, but other wounded veterans.
The fight gave her purpose that has since turned into a movement to unseat career politician Murray, and others, calling it a 16-year campaign.
"Career politicians are more worried about special interests than Americans," she said, noting political action committees are keeping politicians like Murray living the high-life.
"As your senator, I will always take your phone calls; I will always take your knock on my door," she said.
Smiley said career politicians in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere are putting up roadblocks against everyday Americans.
"There is much we have to fight for," she said, noting there is widespread "crime in our streets" nationwide that can be attributed to career politicians who have forgotten who they work for.
Smiley said, if elected, she won't be a career politician – like Murray, who took office when Smiley was just 11 years old.
"I will sign a term-limits pledge," she said, noting one of her first actions if elected will be to halt the "erosion of our public safety."
Smiley called increasing crime and attacks on law enforcement "an American issue."
For almost 30 years, Murray has done nothing, she said.
Smiley called on Washington residents to "stand up and fight" for American.
She advocated for a balanced budget amendment, a reduction of regulations and government bureaucracy, and a cut in taxes.
"Government is not the solution, it's the problem," she said. "And Patty Murray has been part of the problem for 30 years."
Smiley's message is resonating, not just with Republicans, but also suburban residents and military wives, she said.
In the last six months, she's already collected $1.96 million in campaign contributions as a political newcomer.
More than 81% of her funding has come from within Washington state, she said.
Those funds were bolstered Friday at the dinner and auction.
Merle Booker and Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier led an auction of several President Trump special edition firearms, including a .45 caliber handgun and a gangster-style Tommy gun, both of which brough in more than $6,000.
In addition to Smiley and the auction, event-goers heard from Fourth Congressional District hopefuls Benton County deputy sheriff and legislative representative Brad Klippert of Kennewick, former sailor and NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler of Richland and Iraq combat veteran Ben Garcia of Sunnyside.
The trio are hoping to unseat three-term incumbent, Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside, next year.
Newhouse did not attend the event. Instead. Newhouse sent a representative to read a letter to the conservative group that earlier this year called for his ouster after he voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
The Fourth Congressional District runs through Central Washington and includes Douglas, Okanogan, Grant, Yakima, Franklin, Benton, Adams, and part of Walla Walla counties.