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The senator and the trivia question answer.
The senator and the trivia question answer.

Since we looked at the Oregon Senate race just in time for your Portland Drinky Thing, it’s only logical that this week we’d head north to the next state with a safe Democratic seat in the U.S. Senate, and also an upcoming Wonkette Drinky Thing (IT IS THIS TUESDAY. KEEP READING). So let us briefly consider the exciting race between Patty Murray, who is seeking her fifth term in the Senate, and some guy who’s going to lose, because Washington.

Washington has one of those oddball “everybody runs and the top two finishers go to the general election” type “blanket primaries,” and this year it turns out that Murray finished first, bigly, and former state GOP chair Chris Vance came in second, so the election looks a lot like what you’d have in states with normal primaries. Ballotpedia, which is our first stop every week when we do these Senate roundups, lists Washington as “safely Democratic,” as does everyone who knows Washington, with the weed and the Seattle and the extensive leftish political direction and all that.

Patty Murray was Washington’s first female senator, elected to her first term in 1992, and, if you like counting things like this, she’s the 12th most senior member of the Senate. Back at the start of her career in politics, she turned a state representative’s attempted insult into a fine feminist rallying cry — he dismissed her as a “mom in tennis shoes” who could never hope make a difference, and so naturally that phrase has been remembered, while the state rep has not (and we’re in a hurry this morning so we’re not going to try to look him up. Identify him for bragging rights in the comments). What does Patty Murray have going for her? We’re just going to steal shamelessly from Seattle’s The Stranger, which endorsed Murray in the scramble primary even though she didn’t even call in to their group interview of Senate candidates — although a whole gaggle of Republicans attended in person. We do hope she’ll consider their suggested form of apology:

As insulted as we were that she couldn’t even find time to call in—and although nothing short of a video of Murray lip-synching Adele’s “Hello” is gonna make it right—it was not a hard decision. Murray has been a champion for women and working people. She has introduced legislation to increase federal protections against wage theft, she’s fought to defend Planned Parenthood, and she’s worked on a deal with Senate Republicans to find funding to fight the Zika virus. In an e-mail — which is not an in-person meeting or a phone call! Hello? — Murray pledged to keep working on those issues as well as marijuana policy. She’s also promising to protect Washington doctors who prescribe medical marijuana and get marijuana businesses better access to banking — a key shortfall in this whole state’s legalize/Feds look the other way scheme. A+ pandering, Patty! But you are still not forgiven!

If the effete leftists of Seattle’s finest alternative paper can overlook that slight and support Murray, then by golly, that says something.

Also worthy of note, Sen. Murray has made Yr Wonkette several times for her sponsorship of a bill to help disabled veterans get fertility treatments through Veterans Administration hospitals. It’s a pretty important issue for a veteran population young enough to want to be parents, but which has been fighting in a couple of wars where one of the primary weapons has been IEDs, which tend to result in a hell of a lot of injuries to spinal cords, pelvic bones, and genitals. Murray’s bill would have reconciled an insane contradiction between benefits for active duty service people and vets: The military covers fertility treatments, but the VA doesn’t, thanks to Congressional fetus fetishists who object to in vitro fertilization, and prefer frozen blastocysts to disabled veterans. Sadly, Murray’s attempt to end that disparity was also blocked by the aforesaid fetus worshipers. She plans to try again, hopefully in a Democratic-controlled Senate. Her voting record is reliably liberal, she’s awesome on all the issues we like, she’s got an EMILY’s List endorsement, and she’s pretty much a lock for reelection, unless of course western Washington slips into the ocean before the election.

In the everybody-runs-at-once August 2 primary, Murray was the top finisher, with 53% of the vote, while her nearest competitor, former state Republican chair Chris Vance, got a whopping 28% among a field of 16 challengers to Murray. This Vance guy is one of those blue-state Republicans who almost seems reasonable about a number of things, although at core he’s still a conservative Republican-type Republican. On the up side, back in May, Vance made it clear he would not support Donald Trump:

At a Seattle news conference, Vance, who is challenging four-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, blasted Trump’s views on trade, economics and foreign policy as “naive,” “wrongheaded” and “insane.”

Of course, one of the things Vance considers “insane” is Trump’s opposition to international trade agreements, seeing as how Washington’s economy is highly dependent on trade and shipping and the like. On his website’s “Issues” page, Vance doesn’t exactly endorse what Washington’s liberal majority likes on social issues, but instead says he won’t be a reactionary creepazoid about it:

Abortion, Marriage, and Marijuana: The People of Washington Have Spoken

I’m running for the US Senate to bring down our debt, grow our economy, and address issues like health care and infrastructure. We all have personal views regarding issues of faith, morals, and culture, but liberty means Americans have the right to live their lives as they choose, as long as they don’t impact the rights of other Americans.

Translation: I’m a Republican, and I may grumble about the weirdo lefties in my state, but I’m not going to die on any of those hills. Unlike a lot of R’s, Vance acknowledges global warming is real — but he prefers the fantasy that technological innovation, not restrictions on carbon emissions, will save us. And needless to say, he’s a staunch I Heart Guns kind of guy who wants to kill Obamacare. He’s also got precisely the kind of campaign war chest you’d expect for a Republican in a very blue state: after the primary, he’d raised $293,000, compared to Murray’s $11.4 million. In a huge surprise, the most recent polling, in August, showed Murray with a comfortable 18-point lead over Vance. If only he’d take some more hard-line conservative positions, maybe he’d be doing better. Or he could move to Idaho and run as a Democrat.

Now, the truly important part of our Senate Profile: The part where you get to meet Rebecca, Shy, and Wonkette Baby at Tuesday’s Drinky thing: YOU will see them Tuesday, at Golden Gardens, 8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117. We are thinking 4 to 7 p.m. (but will doubtless run longer). Bring some food potluck-styley, and look for the Wonkebago and the nice people with the baby. Look for us near Meadow Point — it’s one big dang park! If you make like the Portlanders did, you will bring incredible fruits and fishes you caught your very own self! Also, bruschetta from your garden that’s so good it’s dumb.

roadside blackberries yum yum yum
roadside blackberries yum yum yum

Want to help Patty Murray fend off an unlikely last-minute surge by some guy you’ve never heard of unless you live in Washington? Here’s her donation page. Or if you want to support Yr Dok Zoom as he bravely counts down all 34 of this year’s Senate races, you can hit the Wonkette Tip Jar right here!

Wonkette Programming Note: Sorry, kids, no Dear Shitferbrains today, because Scheduling Conflict. Yr Dok Zoom will make every effort to put together a very special Dear Shitferbrains to run sometime this week instead.

[The Stranger / Seattle Times / On the Issues / Emily’s List / Seattle Times / Seattle Times]

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