Inslee, McKenna top gubernatorial race


Democrat Jay Inslee took an early lead over Republican Rob McKenna in Tuesday’s state primary election, in a dry run of what promises to be one of the nation’s most closely watched gubernatorial races.

In initial statewide results, Inslee, a seven-term congressmen from Bainbridge Island, led Attorney General McKenna, who is seeking to be the first Republican governor elected in Washington since 1980.

In U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s bid for re-election, she had a large lead in early returns over her likely Republican challenger, Michael Baumgartner.

In a hard-fought race for the congressional seat Inslee is vacating, former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene took an early lead over fellow Democrat Darcy Burner.

If her lead holds, DelBene will be pitted in the November election against Republican John Koster, a longtime Snohomish County Council member, who outpolled all other candidates in early returns.

DelBene has given her campaign more than $2.3 million of her own money so far.

In a State Supreme Court race to be decided in the primary, Steve Gonzalez, appointed to the court last November, led Bruce Danielson, a Port Orchard trial lawyer. And Richard Sanders, who is attempting to regain the high-court seat he lost two years ago, was trailing Seattle attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud.

In other races:

Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was trailing in his attempt to return to elected office. In early returns for Secretary of State, Nickels was far behind Republican Kim Wyman, the Thurston County auditor, and fellow Democrat State Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup.

In the race to replace McKenna as attorney general, Republican Reagan Dunn was trailing Democrat Bob Ferguson. Both serve on the Metropolitan King County Council. So far, Ferguson has raised $950,000 and Dunn, $1 million.

Incumbent Peter Goldmark will face Republican challenger Clint Didier in the fall in the race for commissioner of public lands.

Didier is a farmer and rancher in Franklin County, and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP Senate nomination in the 2010 election. Goldmark, a Democrat, is seeking his second term.

Business development consultant James Watkins advanced to the fall election in the race for state auditor, where he’ll likely face state Rep. Troy Kelley.

The Republican Watkins from Redmond was getting the most votes in Tuesday’s primary, with Democrat Kelley of Tacoma coming in second.

Longtime Democratic incumbent Brian Sonntag is retiring after 20 years

Incumbent Mike Kreidler has advanced to the fall election in the state insurance commissioner’s race. The Democrat will likely face Republican John Adams.

Statewide voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election seemed to start slowly, elections officials said Tuesday, but several counties reported being slammed with more ballots than expected this week.


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