Blue state Democratic senator may face tough reelection battle despite 18-point win in 2016

Blue state Democratic senator may face tough reelection battle despite 18-point win in 2016

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Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is facing a potentially tough reelection battle, a bad sign for Democrats looking to stave off a potential “red wave” in the midterm elections.

Murray leads a hypothetical Republican opponent by just three points, according to a Crosscut/Elway poll released Sunday, with 42% of respondents indicating they would vote for Murray while 39% said they would choose a Republican. Another 19% of respondents said they were still undecided.

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Sen. Patty Murray.

Sen. Patty Murray. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The poll comes as Republicans have signaled increasing optimism about the possibility of a “red wave” in 2022, which they hope will result in the GOP regaining control of both the House and the Senate.

“I’ve been telling Democrats, especially Democrats in targeted seats: Enjoy the holidays, and you got a decision to make: retire or lose next fall,” Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, told The Hill last month.

Democrats currently only hold a five-seat majority in the House, a slim margin many in both parties expect to be toppled by the Republicans. While the map looks more favorable in the Senate, with Republicans having to defend 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs, some believe a GOP majority is within grasp in the upper chamber as well.

President Joe Biden with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)

President Joe Biden with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)

The poll shows that Republicans may have good reason for optimism, despite Murray winning reelection in 2016 by 18 points. The senior Washington senator has rarely been challenged since first being elected to the Senate in 1992, winning all of her reelection bids by double-digit points in what is typically a safely blue state.

Washington voters may be souring on Democrats overall, the poll found. Asked to rate the job performance of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, 60% of respondents had a negative view of his performance while 39% expressed positive views.

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Sen. Patty Murray.

Sen. Patty Murray. (AP)

The poll also found that more voters blame the current political leadership for problems with the economy, with 48% placing blame on government policy compared to 42% blaming the pandemic.

Murray’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

The poll sampled 400 registered voters in Washington between Dec. 26-28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.