Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland led with 21% of the vote on primary election night in the crowded race to replace Rep. Denny Heck in Washington’s only open race for Congress, as the November general election appeared poised to be an all-Democratic affair.
State Rep. Beth Doglio was in second with 14%, and former state Rep. Kristine Reeves was in third with 13% in the race for the 10th Congressional District, representing Olympia and south Puget Sound.
All three women are Democrats. The leading Republican, Rian Ingrim, had 11%. Ballots will continue to be counted in the days ahead, and the top two candidates, regardless of party, will face off in November.
In Washington’s nine other congressional districts, incumbents led their races and looked certain to head to the general election.
The race for the 10th, which reliably votes for Democrats, drew 19 candidates, more than twice as many as any other U.S. House race in Washington. Heck announced in December he was retiring after four terms, and he is running for lieutenant governor.
Strickland, 57, is a former two-term mayor of Tacoma and most recently ran the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce for two years.
Doglio, 55, has served two terms in the state Legislature after a long career as an organizer and environmental activist. She led the field in fundraising after getting endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Reeves, 39, stepped down from the Legislature in December to run for Congress. She is 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.
“During this time of crisis people are looking for proven leadership,” Strickland said Tuesday night. “Having experience on the ground in local government is something that voters are valuing.”
Strickland, through her work for the Seattle chamber, represents the more business-friendly wing of the Democratic Party. The chamber got nearly $1.5 million from Amazon to work to influence last year’s Seattle City Council elections.
Incumbents leading across the state
In 2018, Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, won the most expensive congressional race in Washington history, dominating in King County suburbs to become the first Democrat to win in the 8th District since its creation in 1980.
Schrier’s reelection effort has had a much lower profile and she has raised more than $3 million more than her closest challenger. But Tuesday’s results show she could still be in for a close race.
Schrier led with 44% of the vote Tuesday followed by Republican Jesse Jensen, a former Army captain and Amazon manager with 18%, followed closely by Republican Keith Swank with 17%.
The three Democratic candidates had 48.7% of the vote on Tuesday night, while the three Republican candidates had 48.2%.
In another closely watched race, five-term Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and Democratic challenger Carolyn Long, a political-science professor, appeared headed for a rematch of their 2018 faceoff in Southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Herrera Beutler led with 54% of the vote; Long had 41%.
Democrats have targeted Herrera Beutler, the only Republican in Congress from a district on the continental Pacific coast.
In the Seattle area, Democrats Pramila Jayapal, seeking a third term from Seattle’s 1st District, and Rep. Adam Smith, a Bellevue resident who has represented the 9th in Congress since 1997, posted leads of more than 50 percentage points over opponents who did not report raising any money.
Republican Craig Keller had a slim lead over other challengers to Jayapal; Republican Doug Basler had the second-most votes against Smith.
In the 6th District, representing the Olympic Peninsula, four-term Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, led with 50% of the vote, followed by Republican Elizabeth Kreiselmaier with 25% and Democrat Rebecca Parson with 12%.
In the 2nd District, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, had 52% in his race for an 11th term representing Everett, Bellingham and the San Juan Islands. Republican Timothy Hazelo led a crowded field of challengers with 14%.
The 1st Congressional District, which sprawls across Western Washington from Interstate 90 to the Canadian border, was redrawn a decade ago to be competitive. But Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, led handily in her race for a fifth term, with 56% of the vote. Republican Jeffrey Beeler was second with 32%.
East of the Cascades, eight-term Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and four-term Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, both had more than 50% and appear to be cruising toward the general election. Doug McKinley, a Democrat, was second to Newhouse with nearly 28%.
Democrats spent nearly $6 million in 2018 in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat McMorris Rodgers. This year, McMorris Rodgers’ leading Democratic opponent, Chris Armitage, suddenly dropped out in late July, citing mental health issues; Democrat Dave Wilson was in second with 24%.