OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The race for Washington's 10th Congressional District is certain to be between two female Democrats, but one of the two is still undetermined as ballots continue to arrive in elections offices and be counted in the state's vote-by-mail primary.
With the announcement of Democratic U.S. Rep Denny Heck’s retirement from Congress and subsequent run for lieutenant governor, the open seat in the district drew 19 candidates. The district includes most of Pierce and Thurston counties, including the state capital of Olympia, and part of Mason County.
Former Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland advanced to the November ballot with just over 21% of the vote, while Democratic state lawmaker Beth Doglio and former state lawmaker Kristine Reeves were vying for the second spot. Doglio had nearly 15% of the vote as of Thursday night, while Reeves had just under 13%.
Strickland, who most recently ran the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as mayor of Tacoma and was previously a council member.
Doglio was the founding executive director of Washington Conservation Voters and later was a field organizer for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and worked for Audubon Washington and Climate Solutions. She's served two terms in the Legislature, representing Olympia and surrounding areas.
Reeves, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and director of economic development for the military and defense sector in the state Commerce Department, stepped down from the Legislature in December, a month after she was re-elected to her second term, to run for Congress.
Under Washington's top-two primary, all candidates appear on one ballot, and the top two vote getters advance to the November ballot, regardless of party. Rian Ingrim, the leading Republican, had 11%.
It's not the first time a congressional race had two candidates from the same party. In 2018, Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Smith beat Democratic challenger Sarah Smith, and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal beat fellow Democrat, state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, in the race for the 7th Congressional District in 2016. Also in 2016, Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse beat Republican challenger Clint Didier.
The congressional race was one of dozens that voters weighed in on this week.
Tuesday night, incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who is seeking to become the first incumbent elected to a third term in the state in more than 40 years, advanced to the general election with about 51% of the vote. With 17% of the vote, Republican Loren Culp, the police chief of the small city of Republic, captured the largest share among 35 other candidates.
The lieutenant governor's race was another race that resulted with two Democrats on the November ballot. Heck captured nearly 27% in early returns, and Democratic Sen. Marko Liias advanced with just over 17%. The leading Republican, Ann Davison Sattler, had just under 12%.
Heck and Liias hope to succeed current Democratic Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who announced earlier this year that he was leaving to become a Jesuit priest.
The last time two candidates from the same party emerged from the top-two primary for a statewide elected position was in 2016, when two Republicans advanced in the treasurer’s race, with Duane Davidson ultimately prevailing.
Davidson is one of only two Republicans to hold statewide office in the state, and he was trailing his Democratic challenger in the primary. Davidson and state Rep. Mike Pellicciotti were the only two candidates on the primary ballot and automatically advanced to the general election, with Pellicciotti having captured more than 53% in early returns.
Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman is also expected to face a competitive election in the fall. Wyman and Democratic state Rep. Gael Tarleton both advanced to the November ballot, with Wyman at nearly 51% and Tarleton with just under 44%.
Voters also weighed in on five other statewide elected offices, with all of the Democratic incumbents advancing to the November ballot with healthy margins against Republican challengers: state Auditor Pat McCarthy will face Chris Leyba, Attorney General Bob Ferguson will face Matt Larkin, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz will face Sue Kuehl Pederson, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal looked likely to face Maia Espinoza, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler will face Chirayu Avinash Patel.
All 98 state House seats and 26 of the Senate’s 49 seats were also on the primary ballot. Democrats hold a 28-21 majority in the Senate and a 57-41 edge in the House.
The next batch of results will be posted by counties Friday afternoon.