Incumbents lead in early election results

August 17, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

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NEW — 8:35 p.m. Aug. 17, 2010

Incumbent candidates outpaced challengers in the initial election results released Tuesday night.

The primary set up a showdown for a 41st Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, a competitive congressional race and a chance to elect a judge to the King County District Court bench.

State Rep. Judy Clibborn, a Mercer Island Democrat seeking a fifth term, outpaced Stephen Strader, a Bellevue Republican, and independent Orion S. Webster.

Clibborn represents the 41st Legislative District — Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities, plus Mercer Island, Newcastle and parts of Bellevue, Renton and unincorporated King County.

The incumbent led Strader by about 55 percent to about 40 percent to set up the general election contest. Webster, like Strader, a political newcomer, trailed at 5 percent.

Congressman Dave Reichert pulled ahead of a crowded field, including the Democrat, former Microsoft and executive Suzan DelBene. Reichert, a former King County sheriff, led DelBene by about 47 percent to about 28 percent. Longshot candidates rounded out the field.

Observers expect a close election, as DelBene seeks to become the first Democrat to represent the 8th Congressional District. Though Reichert has come close to defeat in the past, political analysts said he has a stronger hand in November.

The congressional district sprawls across eastern King and Pierce counties from the Snohomish County line up north to the Lewis County line in the south.

Newcastle attorney Donna Tucker and Redmond City Prosecutor Larry Mitchell surged past Mercer Island attorney Ketu Shah in the race for District Court judge.

Tucker pulled in 45 percent and Mitchell garnered about 35 percent. The candidates face off in the November election. Shah trailed at about 20 percent.

The county created the position last year to address a growing caseload.

The bustling court handles traffic infractions, misdemeanor criminal offenses and some civil cases. The district includes Issaquah, Sammamish, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville and parts of unincorporated King County.

King County Elections released the initial results just after 8 p.m. Tuesday, the last day to postmark or drop off a primary ballot. Elections Director Sherril Huff had predicted 45 percent turnout in the summer primary.

Expect the next round of results at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The elections office plans daily updates until all ballots have been counted.

The results remain unofficial until the county Canvassing Board meets Sept. 1 to certify the election. Final results should be posted to the elections website by noon Sept. 1.

The elections office started to receive marked ballots days after the office mailed blank forms to voters in late July. The agency starts processing ballots upon receipt, but law prohibits elections staffers from tabulating results before 8 p.m. on Election Day. In the run-up to the deadline, staffers opened ballots and reviewed voter signatures in a secure location at the elections office in Tukwila.

If a signature problem arises, staffers contact voters to resolve the issue in order for the ballot to be counted.

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