In polarized Congress, Murray and Crapo talk up bipartisanship in campaigns

October 5, 2016

By Rob Hotakainen

Washington state Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo disagree on most things, but they concur on this: Emphasizing bipartisanship is a very good thing when you’re up for re-election.

In her first television advertisement this week, Murray touted her work on budget issues with Republican House Leader Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after the government shutdown in 2013.

“I’m Patty Murray and I sponsor this message because I’ll do whatever it takes to get things done,” said Murray, who’s seeking a fifth term in November.

Crapo, who’s seeking a fourth term, cited 18 “bipartisan/collaborative” examples of his work, including his push in 2011 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, one of Murray’s top priorities.

And Crapo also teamed up with Murray this year to pass a law that gives Indian tribes more control of non-monetary assets held in trust by the federal government.

In an interview, Crapo said “it’s increasingly rare to actually get engaged in discussions of policy” in Congress these days, with lawmakers oftentimes more interested in fighting than working together.

And he said that’s discouraging.

“We have many stages set for fights around here, which are not intended to pass legislation,” Crapo said. “They are intended to create political fodder.”

Both Murray and Crapo are favored to win. Murray is running against former Washington state Republican chairman Chris Vance, while Crapo faces a challenge from Democrat Jerry Sturgill, a Boise businessman.