(The Center Square) – While most races in last Tuesday's Washington state primary election have been decided, there are a few close contests where the results remain unclear.
In the race for Washigton's 3rd Congressional District, Republican challenger Joe Kent has, in methodical fashion, overtaken fellow Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
Monday evening ballot tallies from the Secretary of State’s Office showed Kent, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, with 47,623 votes (22.79%) to the congresswoman’s 46,663 votes (22.33%) – a margin of 960 votes.
The former Green Beret had trailed Beutler by some 5,000 votes on election night with tens of thousand of ballots remaining to be counted.
The two candidates are contending for the second and final spot on the Nov. 8 ballot. Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has already secured the top position with 64,718 votes, or 30.97% of the ballots counted so far.
The Evergreen State’s top-two primary allows voters to choose among all candidates running for office. That means the two candidates who receive the most votes during the primary election will move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Adding to the electoral drama is the fact that Beutler is one of two House Republicans from Washington who bucked their party and voted for Trump’s impeachment over the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. The other is U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, who represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District.
Newhouse defeated Trump-endorsed challenger Loren Culp last week and will advance to the general election. Culp, who came in third place in the primary, ran for governor of Washington as a Republican in 2020, losing to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.
At the statewide executive level, who will be on the November ballot for secretary of state remains partly undecided.
Democratic incumbent Steve Hobbs, who was appointed Secretary of State by Inslee last year, will advance to the general election, having received 730,082 votes – 40.2% – as of Monday evening.
Less than a percentage point separates three candidates vying for the second spot on the ballot in the general election.
Nonpartisan candidate Julie Anderson, who is the current Pierce County Auditor, has been in second place since election night. As of Monday, she had garnered 233,304 votes, or 12.86% of the tally.
Trailing Anderson are three Republicans: state Sen. Keith Wagoner with 218,825 votes (12.06%), Bob Hagglund with 216,906 votes (11.95%), and Mark Miloscia with 181,533 votes (10%).
Were Anderson and Hobbs to advance to the November ballot, that would mean Washington voters would be in a position to elect a non-Republican as secretary of state for the first time sine 1960. Hobbs was appointed after Republican Kim Wyman resigned to take a cybersecurity position with the Biden administration.
The closest primary contest, however, is in the 47th Legislative District state Senate race, where Democrat Claudia Kauffman leads fellow Democrat Satwinder Kaur by only 61 votes. As of Monday, Kauffman had 8,144 votes (27.22%) to Kaur’s 8,083 votes (27.02%).
One of them will advance to face Republican Bill Boyce, who had 13,642 votes (45.6%), in the general election.
The 47th Legislative District encompasses parts of Kent and Auburn and all of Covington.
Incumbent Mona Das, a Democrat whose term expires in January 2023, did not file to run for re-election.
Primary election results will be certified Aug. 19.