Murray beats Vance in U.S. Senate race

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SPOKANE — Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray won a fifth term on Tuesday, becoming one of the longest-serving senators in Washington history.

Murray beat Republican Chris Vance, who was seeking to become the first Republican elected to the Senate from the state since 1994.

In Washington’s liberal 7th Congressional District, Pramila Jayapal beat Brady Walkinshaw in the contest to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott. Both Jayapal and Walkinshaw are state lawmakers and Democrats. The 7th District includes most of Seattle, and it had been represented by McDermott since 1988.

Washington’s nine other U.S. House members all won re-election.

Murray, first elected in 1992, trails only the legendary Warren Magnuson and Henry “Scoop” Jackson in Senate tenure from Washington state.

“I will never stop being your voice,” Murray told supporters in Seattle on Tuesday night.

Vance, the former Washington Republican Party chairman, hoped his message of fiscal discipline and social moderation would resonate with state voters long turned off by the GOP.

He was gracious in defeat. “Patty Murray is a good, honest, hard-working public servant, and I wish her nothing but the best,” Vance said in a statement.

Murray dismissed Vance’s criticism that she was responsible for congressional gridlock and the failure to address deficit spending and shore up Social Security and Medicare. During the campaign she pointed to her work with Republicans on the budget and education as examples of how she could accomplish things in a tough environment.

In 2013, Murray teamed with Rep. Paul Ryan, now the Republican House speaker, to craft a national budget deal between the two parties that included spending increases in 2014 and 2015 in exchange for extending budget caps further into the future.

Murray also collaborated with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law. Murray has said the rewrite lifted punishment the federal government held over Washington public schools and returned more accountability to the states.

The Democrat has steadily risen in power in the nation’s Capitol. She’s the ranking minority member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELP, Committee and sits on the appropriations panel.

In the 7th District race, Jayapal, 52, became the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress.

She and Walkinshaw both advocated positions designed to appeal to the state’s most left-leaning congressional district.

Jayapal pushed for a single-payer health care system run by the government to reduce costs and increase access, favors increasing the federal minimum wage and wants to find a way to move the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country toward citizenship.