Hilary Franz, a favorite of Seattle environmentalists, was well ahead of Steve McLaughlin in Tuesday's election returns for state commissioner of public lands.

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Hilary Franz, a favorite of Seattle environmentalists, appeared headed to victory over Steve McLaughlin in Tuesday’s election returns for state commissioner of public lands.

Franz had claimed 55 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Neither candidate is steeped in political experience. Franz, a Democrat, served a term on the Bainbridge Island City Council. McLaughlin, a Republican with a ranching and military background, has not held public office.

The lands commissioner is the state’s top firefighting official and manages 5.6 million acres of state lands. The commissioner oversees logging in state forests and land leases that generate, on average, more than $200 million a year, primarily for public-school construction.

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For the campaign, Franz resigned as executive director at Futurewise, a nonprofit that helps implement the state’s Growth Management Act.

Check our live updates for the latest election coverage and reaction, and see our results page for complete election returns.