OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state's 2022 general election includes races for several key positions at the federal and state levels.
The 2022 general election is Nov. 8.
Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. to be counted.
The Secretary of State's Office recommends voters who return their ballots on Election Day bring them to a ballot drop box instead of dropping them in the mail to ensure they are postmarked in time.
The most high-profile in-state race revolves around the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Patty Murray, who is pursuing her sixth term this cycle.
Murray faces Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley.
Murray said she wants to continue working for Washington families. In her candidate statement, Murray said she will always stand up to those who want to "roll back workers' rights" or ban abortions. She also said she wants to lower families' costs for healthcare and childcare.
Smiley, a Republican born in Pasco, co-founded and serves as president of Hope Unseen, a veterans advocacy organization. In Smiley's candidate statement, she said she is running to improve public safety and support law enforcement, among other priorities. This is Smiley's first political campaign.
According to the latest WA Poll, if an election was to be held in mid-October Murray would lead Smiley 49% to 41%.
Compared to a previous poll in July, Murray is down two points and Smiley is up 18, causing Murray's 18-point lead to drop to eight points. Among men, Murray led by two points but now trails by six. Among women, Murray led by 34 points and now leads by 20.
Murray leads by 19 points in Seattle and by eight points elsewhere in western Washington. Smiley leads by 14 points in eastern Washington.
Washington Secretary of State
Secretary of State is also up for grabs in this cycle, as Steve Hobbs hopes to maintain the seat he was appointed to after Republican Kim Wyman resigned last year to accept a position with President Joe Biden's administration.
Hobbs said he is focusing on ensuring elections are secure and accessible to every eligible voter. He said he is prepared to lead the state through election security challenges as cybersecurity threats and attacks become more sophisticated.
Hobbs is being challenged by Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, running as nonpartisan, and pushing that the office should be independent of political parties.
Anderson has pointed to her experience running the Pierce County Auditor's Office for the past 12 years where she worked to increase voter access, enhance election security and improve auditing procedures. Anderson holds national and state certifications in election administration and is a certified public records officer.
Anderson said she finds joy in the minute details of records keeping and election security work and believes voters will want someone who has a handle on the technical aspects of the Secretary of State position.
According to the latest WA Poll results, if the general election were held in mid-October, Hobbs would lead Anderson 40% to 29%.
However, 30% said they were still undecided when the survey was conducted on Oct. 14-19. Many of those undecided voters were Republicans and independents.
Hobbs leads by 20 points among women and by a single point among men.
Anderson leads Hobbs by four points among those ages 50-64, trailing by double digits among younger and older voters.
Hobbs leads by 15 points in Seattle and 14 points in the rest of western Washington. The two are tied in eastern Washington.
Incumbents from all 10 of Washington's Congressional Districts are being challenged.
National eyes will be on the 8th Congressional District, where incumbent Kim Schrier faces Matt Larkin.
The 8th Congressional District covers territory in the eastern sections of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, as well as crossing the Cascade mountains to cover portions of Chelan and Kittitas counties. It was represented by a Republican from 1983 to 2019 when Schrier was elected for the first time.
Schrier is the only Democrat to hold the seat since it was created in the 1980s. During her campaign, she has highlighted her pragmatic service since being elected in 2018, pointing to helping farmers access research grants, urging Biden to boost pay for wildland firefighters, and securing money to upgrade infrastructure.
In an interview with KING 5, Schrier said she chose to run again so she can continue her work to make healthcare more affordable while addressing inflation and high gas prices.
She also said she wants to continue to fight against abortion bans, calling a proposed nationwide abortion ban "horrifying." Such an important medical decision, she said, should be made by a woman and her doctor.
Larkin has criticized Schrier as a rubber-stamp for Biden's policies, blaming her and others for high inflation and gas prices. Larkin, a Christian conservative who opposes abortion, previously stressed talking points that echo some of Trump's, with a campaign slogan of: "Make crime illegal again."
During an interview with KING 5, Larkin said there is a prevailing sense that crime is legal. Crime is out of control in King County, he said. He said the current party in power is to blame as then turn "a blind eye" to crime.
He said police officers need more support, including more federal funding.
District 9 race
Longtime U.S. Representative Adam Smith faces challenger Doug Basler for District 9.
The District 9 seat covers areas of King and Pierce counties, including portions of Seattle and Bellevue, south to Federal Way and Tacoma.
In a recent debate, Basler said his top priority would be to get energy prices and inflation "under control." Smith said the focus needs to be on affordable housing, along with healthcare.
District 3 race
In southwest Washington, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is looking to be the first Democrat to represent District 3 for the first time in more than a decade.
Her challenger, Joe Kent, hopes to retain the seat for the Republicans after six-term U.S. Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler conceded defeat during the primary election.
Kent, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said the stakes would be high because the "far left, the globalists, the administrative state" were unified against conservatives. He referenced the FBI's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.
Gluesenkamp Perez, who admired Herrera Beutler's concession in the primary, said the reason she joined the race for District 3 was to defeat Kent.
Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republicans in the U.S. House who voted in favor of impeaching Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection - which Kent criticized and cited as his main inspiration for running for office.
Representatives are elected to a two-year term and serve people in specific districts. The number of voting representatives for all 50 states in the U.S. House is no more than 435.
Measures to watch
King County voters will decide on a proposed property tax increase that would restore funding to a conservation program.
King County Proposition 1 will appear on the November general election ballot. If approved by voters, it would restore its conservation futures tax in 2023 at a rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or an estimated $21.75 more per year.
Seattle voters will consider two measures in November that would change primary elections in the city.
Propositions 1A and 1B would let voters either select as many candidates for mayor, city attorney and city council as they like or rank those candidates by preference.