Former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations working to help elect Republicans in November's midterm elections
EXCLUSIVE — As part of her 2022 mission to help fellow Republicans win back House and Senate majorities in the midterm elections, former ambassador Nikki Haley is setting her sites on the Senate race in Washington State.
Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who served as ambassador to the United Nations during former President Donald Trump’s administration, on Tuesday endorsed Republican Tiffany Smiley, the military wife, nurse, veterans rights advocate, and first-time Republican candidate who’s running to defeat longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
"Tiffany’s a nurse, military wife, veterans' advocate, and fighter who’s taken on the DC bureaucracy and won. Most importantly, she’s a mom who knows that our kids’ education is key to America’s success," Haley said in a statement shared first with Fox News.
And Haley emphasized that "unlike Patty Murray, Tiffany's an outsider who will bring bold new leadership to Washington. She won’t back down from a fight and we need her to shake up DC."
Haley, through the efforts of her Stand For America PAC, has been crisscrossing the country during the 2022 cycle to help support and raise money for fellow Republicans running for office.
Smiley grabbed national attention after her Army officer husband was permanently blinded during an attack in Iraq more than a decade and a half ago. She told Fox News last year that her efforts on behalf of her husband "opened my eyes to the failure of the federal government to protect and support our men and women in uniform."
Her push for reforms landed her on national TV and helped to push the Trump administration and Congress to pass reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Former President Donald Trump signed a bill into law in 2017 that gave leadership at the VA more power to fire failed employees and protect those who uncover agency wrongdoing.
Republicans need a net gain of just one seat in the midterms to reclaim the Senate majority they lost when Democrats swept in Georgia’s January 2021 twin Senate runoff elections. While defending 20 of the 33 seats up for grabs in November, the GOP is targeting four first-term Democratic senators up for reelection in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. But they also see the potential to flip a blue seat red in both Washington State and Colorado. And Haley’s endorsement is seen as another sign of Republican optimism that they have a shot at defeating Murray.
"I am honored to receive the support of Ambassador Haley, a woman who has proven herself over and over to be a strong leader and tough defender of America values both at home and abroad," Smiley said in a statement.
She charged that "from Afghanistan to the horrors we are seeing in Ukraine, weak leadership from President Biden and Patty Murray has emboldened our enemies. Now, more than ever, our country needs
strong leaders defending our American freedoms while also projecting strength abroad. With the support of people like Ambassador Haley behind me, that is exactly what I intend to do when I go to D.C. as Washington’s next US senator."
Murray, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, won reelection in 2016 by 18 points in reliably blue Washington. The incumbent senator has built a formidable war chest and had nearly $7 million in her campaign coffers as of the end of September.
But Smiley last week reported hauling in $1.65 million in the January-March first quarter of fundraising, from 24,000 individual donations, with $2.65 million cash on hand in her campaign coffers as of the end
While polling last year indicated Murray with double-digit leads over Smiley in hypothetical matchups, the most recent survey indicated the senator’s lead shrinking to the upper single digits.
Smiley, who currently has no opposition in the race for the GOP Senate nomination in Washington State, has also been endorsed by Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Marsha Blackburn of
Tennessee, and Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.
This article was originally published by Fox News on April 12, 2022.