AP—Washington's "top two" primary made its debut as voters advanced candidates in dozens of state races.
There weren't any surprises in the early results.
With about 37 percent of the expected vote counted in the gubernatorial race, Gov. Chris Gregoire had about 49 percent of the vote, her Republican challenger Dino Rossi had nearly 45 percent, and both advanced easily to the general election in November.
"I feel good about where we are," Rossi said Tuesday night. "The reality is that less than half the people who are going to show up at the general voted in the primary. The bottom line is this is going to be a sprint to the end."
Gregoire cited the presidential campaign of Barack Obama as something that will help drive even more Democrats to the polls in November, ostensibly helping her campaign.
"I feel momentum is definitely with the Democrats moving to November with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket," she said.
However, reflecting the trend elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, very few Black candidates were victorious in local elections.
Rep. Eric Pettigrew wiped out his opponent for State Legislative District 37 Position 2, with 88.28 percent of the vote.
At presstime, Republican Marco Brown was edging out his opponent for the second slot in the State Legislative District 35 Position 1, but his less-than-one percent margin is so slim, the result may change when absentee ballots are counted.
Donovan Rivers placed third in the 7th Congressional District race, with 5.18 percent of the vote. Rep. Jim McDermott will square off against Republican Steve Beren.
Mark Green, of the Commons Party, placed last in the race for Secretary of the State, which will see Sam Reed and Jason Osgood face off in November.
Dave Arnold was next-to-last in the 8th Congressional District, where Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert are neck and neck.
Treasurer Mike Murphy is stepping down after three terms, and crossed party lines to endorse Republican Alan Martin, his top deputy. Martin moved through to the general election with about 44 percent of the vote. Democratic state Rep. Jim McIntire, an economist and former House Finance Committee chairman, also advanced with about 41 percent.
Both edged out Democrat ChangMook Sohn, who was the state's chief economist for more than two decades. Sohn got only about 15 percent.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson and Randy Dorn also moved on to the November general election.
Bergeson, running for her fourth term, faced five challengers in Tuesday's primary. Dorn, a former legislator, teacher and principal, had about 30 percent of the vote in early returns. With about 20 percent of the expected vote counted, Bergeson had 42 percent.
Dorn is executive director of the Public School Employees of Washington, which represents about 26,000 school workers who are not teachers. In addition to that group, he also had the endorsement of the Washington Education Association, the other big school employees union.
"I'm excited about the number of people that voted for a change in Olympia," said Dorn, who has criticized Bergeson over the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and dropout rates. "Over the next few months, we're going to work harder and get our message out to more people."
The top two primary, which voters approved in 2004, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. This was the first time since 2003 that Washington voters were able to skip back and forth along party lines to pick a favorite candidate for each office. The top two finishers advance to the general election on Nov. 4, regardless of party.
Reed predicted a 46 percent turnout, and county officials surveyed by The Associated Press supported that forecast.