Former GOP Senate candidate takes on House Republican who voted to impeach Trump

Republican Senate Candidate Tiffany Smiley Campaigns In Washington
File: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley (R) speaks while joined by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) during a campaign event on October 25, 2022 in Maple Valley, Washington. 

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Former GOP Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley officially launched her campaign Monday to unseat central Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

“For almost 20 years, I have worked to change the government from the outside, and now it’s clear the best way for me to continue my work and deliver change for Washington families is inside Congress,” Smiley said in a video posted on X. “So I’m running.”

In 2022, Smiley unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Senator Patty Murray for her seat. Ahead of the general election, polls suggested the race could be close, but Smiley lost by roughly 15 points.

There are only two House Republicans left in Congress who voted to impeach the former president: Newhouse and California Rep. David Valadao. The other eight were either defeated in primaries or decided against running for reelection.

Newhouse managed to hold his seat in 2022 due to the large primary field and the state’s unique top-two nonpartisan primary system. In Washington, voters can cast a ballot for any candidate in the primary, and the two with the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of party preference.

“With our dams under threat, a crisis at our border, and working people unable to afford gas and groceries, this is no time for Central Washington to give up its clout in Congress or to hand over the keys to the federal budget to someone who couldn’t manage her own campaign’s finances,” Newhouse’s campaign said in a statement about Smiley’s candidacy. 

According to federal election data, Smiley raised almost $21 million and spent nearly $19 million during her 2022 Senate campaign. She also has $462,000 in debt from 2022, which she is still paying down.

Smiley’s entrance into the race comes several months ahead of the Aug. 6 primary and nearly a month after former President Donald Trump endorsed former NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler.

“Jerrod Sessler is a fantastic candidate and will be a GREAT Congressman for Washington State’s 4th Congressional District,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, adding, “He is running against a weak and pathetic RINO named Newhouse, who voted to, for no reason, Impeach me.”

Although Sessler has Trump’s backing, his fundraising has been anemic, and he lacks the cash that would likely be necessary to take down an incumbent. According to federal documents, in the first three months of 2024, Sessler’s campaign brought in under $11,000, while Newhouse raised over $244,000. Even as a political newcomer, Smiley proved to be a strong fundraiser in her 2022 Senate campaign.

She’s also been a staunch Trump supporter and criticized Newhouse for his vote to impeach.   

“That’s not a vote that represents the voters of the Fourth District,” Smiley told the National Review.

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