Patty Murray seeks 5th term in U.S. Senate; up against challenger Chris Vance

SEATTLE - This fall voters in Washington will be deciding whether or not to give Democratic Senator Patty Murray a fifth term.

Former State GOP Chair Chris Vance is challenging the popular incumbent, arguing that it’s time for a big change in Washington D.C.

In this campaign Murray argues that her work across the aisle to forge bi-partisan deals is a key strength going forward, especially given the polarized nature of politics back in D.C.

“I go to work every day and say, how do I find people of both parties who are willing to work with me,” Murray said.  “I did that with Paul Ryan to put together a budget agreement, when no one else did, in a bi-partisan way that we both had to compromise on.”

But Vance argues that Murray, who is the fourth in charge in the Senate Democratic caucus, has had her chance to make a difference.

“Patty Murray is the living, breathing embodiment of the Washington D.C. establishment,” Vance said.  “She’s been there 24 years, and she is part of the problem.”

Vance is also making a big deal out of the country’s nearly $20 trillion dollar debt, and argues that the time is now to make some hard decisions about reducing spending.

“We have to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare, a little bit, gradually, over time,” he says.

But Murray counters that any major budget deal to address the deficit should be done comprehensively and involve all areas of taxing and spending, not just entitlements.

“Cherry-picking individual issues without saying, how are we doing this in a fair and balanced way, is not a responsible way to put together a budget,” she said.

Vance faces an uphill battle in this race.  A recent Elway polls has Murray at 52% and Vance at 34%.  He is also being massively outspent in this contest.

Recent reports show Murray has raised nearly $12 million compared to Vance who has raised less than $400,000.