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Poll Shows Wash. Senate Race Close

August 28, 1998

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ A retired millionaire has pulled into a virtual tie with a congresswoman in the race for the Republican nomination for Senate, according to an independent poll released Thursday.

Pollster Stuart Elway said a poll of 800 voters, interviewed by telephone between Friday and Tuesday, gave Rep. Linda Smith 14 percent and former King County prosecutor Chris Bayley 13 percent. The poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error means either candidate could be ahead.

A June poll by Elway had Bayley with only 4 percent, compared to 20 percent for Smith going into the Sept. 15 primary.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, facing only token opposition in her primary, was at 40 percent, compared with 39 percent in June. Most of the other voters were undecided.

Washington state voters don’t register by party. All major party candidates are on the primary ballot for consideration by all voters.

Bayley’s spokesman, Jason Miller, said the poll reflects Bayley’s media blitz during the past month. Smith campaign spokesman Jim Troyer said the poll doesn’t account for her grassroots appeal or a new ad campaign.

Smith has been in the state Legislature or Congress for the past 15 years. She has declined contributions from political action committees and avoids all Washington, D.C., fund-raising events.

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