Ahead of the general election, the Republican candidate for the US Senate from Washington has removed a section from her website that previously questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.
Why is this important: The decision by Tiffany Smiley, a former triage nurse challenging U.S. Senator Patty Murray, is the latest example of GOP candidates nationwide appearing to tone down the tough stances they took ahead of the primary.
- Elsewhere in the United States, Republican candidates for Congress have cleaned up their websites of anti-abortion rhetoric, in addition to reducing their focus on voter fraud conspiracies and other far-right topics, write Alexi McCammond and Andrew Solender from Axios.
State of play: Ahead of the Aug. 2 primary, Smiley’s website said, “The 2020 election has raised serious questions about the integrity of our elections” and “I believe the courts have an obligation to give all evidence of electoral fraud a fair hearing”.
What they say : Smiley’s campaign says the website change was part of a rollout of more detailed political platforms after the primary — not a shift in Smiley’s stance.
- “Tiffany’s position has always been that Joe Biden is our duly elected president,” campaign spokeswoman Elisa Carlson wrote in an email to Axios last Friday. “However, she recognizes that there are many who have concerns about the 2020 election.”
Yes, but: In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Smiley declined to make a clear statement that Biden had been “fairly” or “legitimately” elected, even after being questioned three times.
- To note : Smiley, who became the veterans’ advocate after her husband, an army officer, was injured in Iraq, also wants voter ID laws implemented across the country.
- This is another position previously highlighted on its website that has since been removed.
The other side: Naomi Savin, spokeswoman for Murray’s campaign, said Smiley’s stance on election integrity “is far from the truth and far from the voters of Washington.”
- “Tiffany Smiley is yet another MAGA Republican struggling to hide her extreme views after the primary,” Savin wrote in a statement to Axios.
Zoom out: Smiley has also tried to walk a fine line on abortion, saying she opposes the practice but does not support a federal ban – a message she delivered in a TV ad after the primary. august.
- Earlier in the campaign, Smiley said she agreed with Texas’ near-total abortion ban, The Hill reported. But on Sunday, she told Bash that she supports Washington’s law that allows abortions for around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
- Smiley’s campaign said its position is consistent because it believes abortion laws should be left to the states.
The big picture: Todd Donovan, professor of political science at Western Washington University, told Axios that Smiley faces the challenge of breaking away from Trump in a state that is turning blue.
- “One way to try to do that is to give up the Holocaust denial or election integrity stuff,” Donovan said.
- However, Donovan said he doubts Washington voters would distinguish between Smiley’s support for a strict Texas abortion ban and his opposition to a federal ban.