Midterm Elections: What You Need to Know

Photo by Element5 Digital from Unsplash.

The midterm elections are here. On Nov. 8, voters will decide who will represent Washington state in Congress for the following term. A key figure to elect this midterm is a US senator position. 

Sen. Patty Murray, the current incumbent senator, is running for re-election. She has represented Washington as a US senator since 1992. She is a Democrat who prides herself on her progressive policies.

Her opponent, Tiffany Smiley, is a Republican with past experience in the medical field who is running for public office for the first time. Smiley is a strong advocate for veterans, and her agenda is focused on recovery and reform.

Further details of these two candidates’ goals in the US senate were displayed in the debate held on Oct. 23 at Gonzaga University. The hour-long debate covered a multitude of topics, including abortion, crime, climate change and more.


In the debate, Smiley states that although she is pro-life herself, she promises that if she is elected, she will make sure that every woman in Washington has access to healthcare, contraception and childcare.

Murray’s website listed that “Murray is a fierce champion of reproductive rights and is committed to defending Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. She believes that everyone should be able to get the reproductive health care they need — including family planning services and safe, legal abortion.”


One of the focuses of Smiley’s agenda is stopping crime. She aims to do that by creating reforms to ensure all law enforcement agencies have access to federal grants, which will offer all officers $5,000 in hiring and retention bonuses. She also believes that preventing “Title 42 from being lifted until real border security through physical barriers, manpower and technology – can be achieved” will decrease crime.

Murray stands by the American Rescue Plan Act, which gave law enforcement officers resources to use during hardships. Murray focuses on making reforms to gun violence and mental health crisis response, specifically substance abuse disorders.

Climate Change

Smiley believes that actions against climate change should be done on a local level. Her agenda includes achieving energy independence in the short term by expanding American gas production and in the long term by expanding clean energy capacity.

Murray has pushed for a clean energy initiative and supports rapid efforts to decrease emissions and reach net zero emissions as soon as possible. In recent months, she and other Democrats in the US Congress passed a bill regarding climate action, where investments are being made to move into green energy sources and develop new, sustainable energy-producing techniques.

Other than the choice of US senator, there are also several other positions in Congress which will be voted on in the election.

  • Secretary of state: Steve Hobbs (incumbent) against Julie Anderson
  • King County prosecutor: Jim Ferrell against Leesa Manion
  • 9th Congressional District: Adam Smith (incumbent) against Doug Basler
  • 7th Congressional District: Pramila Jayapal (incumbent) against Cliff Moon

* The Congressional Districts listed above fall under King County. If you live outside of King County, you can find out which district you are in here

Congress is an integral part of the US Government and impacts our lives. It is essential to make our voices heard by voting for the right leaders to represent our values and needs. 

WA offers online voter registration by mail and in-person registration during election day. For the mailing process, print and fill out a voter registration form and mail it to a local election office. 16- and 17-year-olds are able to register as future voters and will  automatically be sent ballots once they turn 18. The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 31 by mail and online.

Ensure you are voting for representatives that would build you a better future by learning about the candidates and considering your ballot measure options! Happy voting, and remember to return your ballot to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8!