The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Results from the state’s all-mail primary election will continue to trickle in throughout the week, but the races that were decided early on were no surprise: Democratic incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant easily advanced through the primary to the November ballot, as did Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and opponent Republican Chris Vance.
Many other races may take days to determine as the ballots arrive in elections offices throughout the week following Tuesday’s drop-off deadline.
“By Friday, you should pretty much know the top two finishers in all the races,” said David Ammons, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.
Some counties were expected to post more results Wednesday afternoon as voters have narrowed their choices in dozens of federal, statewide and local races. Clallam and Jefferson counties are expected to announced more vote totals Friday.
In early returns Tuesday night in the state’s primary, Inslee had 49 percent of the vote and Bryant had 38 percent. Murray advanced with 54 percent of the vote and Vance had 28 percent.
All 10 of the state’s U.S. House seats are also on the ballot.
More than 4 million of the state’s registered voters started receiving their ballots in the mail weeks ago for the top-two primary, in which the top two vote-getters advance to the November ballot, regardless of party.
As of Tuesday night, nearly 24 percent of voters had returned their ballots. The secretary of state’s office has estimated a 41 percent turnout rate.
The open seat for lieutenant governor also has drawn a large group of 11 candidates, including three Democratic state senators. Early returns showed Democratic Sen. Cyrus Habib and Republican Marty McClendon both sitting atop the crowd, with 20 percent each.
Other open statewide races include: auditor, lands commissioner, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. The treasurer’s race showed two Republicans — Duane Davidson and Michael Waite — leading, with 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
If the results hold and they advance to the general election, it will be the first time two candidates of the same party have faced off in a statewide race since Washington launched the top-two primary system in 2008.
Same-party opponents have emerged in legislative and congressional races.
Voters also weighed in on legislative races, with all 98 state House seats and 26 of the Senate’s 49 seats on the ballot. Republicans currently control the Senate, and Democrats control the House, both by narrow margins.
Because Chief Justice Barbara Madsen faces more than one challenger, hers is the only state Supreme Court race on the primary ballot. Madsen advanced Tuesday night with 64 percent of the vote, as did Kittitas County Prosecutor Greg Zempel, with 29 percent of the vote.
Justices Mary Yu and Charlie Wiggins each has just one challenger, so they won’t appear on the ballot until the general election.