Update, 10 p.m.: Democratic frontrunner Suzan DelBene confirmed to Redmond Patch that opponent Darcy Burner called her earlier this evening to offer her congratulations and concede.
"I'm just incredibly honored to have support from people all across the district," DelBene said in a brief phone interview on Tuesday night.
Looking ahead to the general election, DelBene said her strategy will focus on continuing to talk to voters about how to improve the economy and create more jobs.
"We're going to work hard to make sure we get our story out to voters," she said.
Meanwhile, fellow Democratic candidate Laura Ruderman offered a similar message of party unity while addressing supporters at Kirkland's Wilde Rover restaurant.
"Take a week, get some sleep and then let's go elect some Democratic candidates who will fight for the values we believe in," she said.
DelBene is also leading returns among Democrats for the special one-month term to fill Rep. Jay Inslee's seat.
Update, 9:10 p.m.: The Seattle Times and KUOW sent out tweets saying Burner has conceded the race to DelBene.
Original story: Kirkland's Suzan DelBene is leading Democrats in early voting returns for the 1st District Congressional race, according to preliminary results released by the Washington Secretary of State's office.
Among Democrats, DelBene has 23 percent of the votes, followed by Darcy Burner with 13 percent, Steve Hobbs with 8 percent, Laura Ruderman with 4 percent, and Darshan Rauniyar with 2 percent. Republican John Koster was bringing in 47 percent of the votes and Independent Larry Ishmael had earned 2 percent.
The top two candidates—regardless of party affiliation—will advance to the general election this November.
In King County, 14,688 ballots had been counted as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The county has more than 72,000 voters.
Washington's new 1st District is one of the state's largest and most politically diverse districts, stretching from Redmond to the Canadian border and including both tech-savvy suburbs and large expanses of farmland.
Darcy Burner attended a primary night party at Zeeks Pizza in downtown Redmond. Minutes before the first round of results were released, Burner said she was "cautiously optimistic" and thought the race has been fair and civil thus far.
"It's actually been a very fun campaign," she said.
Meanwhile, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, had gathered 52 percent of the vote. Her challenger likely will be Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner who had pulled in 32 percent of the ballots counted.
Patch will post updated election results as they are released.
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