Laurel Demkovich / The Spokesman-Review
For the top two candidates for one of Washington’s U.S. Senate seats, bolstering the economy and handling record-high inflation are top priorities.
But five-term Sen. Patty Murray and political newcomer Tiffany Smiley disagree on how to get there — and who’s to blame.
Heading into the Aug. 2 primary, Murray faces 17 challengers, but early campaign contributions and party support point to Smiley as her likely opponent in November.
Having been first elected in 1992, Murray is the sixth-most-senior member of the Senate and third-most-senior Democrat — one of the most powerful people in the Senate right now. She is currently the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Smiley is a political newcomer from Pasco. She has been a veterans advocate since 2005 after her…