It was too close to call who will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene in the seven-person race for Washington's 1st Congressional District.
Republican challengers Robert Sutherland and Pedro Celis were second and third, beating out four other challengers, according to early primary results reported Tuesday night, Aug. 5.
Democrat DelBene came out on top with 52 percent of the vote in the early count.
As of 9:30 p.m. Sutherland held the second highest tally with 16 percent of the vote, and Celis was close behind with 15 percent. The final count will be certified on Aug. 19, and the top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 4 general election.
"We had a great result tonight," DelBene said. "Regardless of who comes out as the challenger, I want to continue to go out and make sure people know we have folks that are focused on solutions."
Sutherland, a far-right Republican, with experience serving on the Snohomish County Republican Party Executive Committee, said he was pleasantly surprised with the results.
"It's surprising to me given how little I raised," Sutherland said. "I did not have the money for mailers, for TV ads; I don't even have road signs up."
As of July 16, Celis, the early Republican favorite, had raised $428,925, while Sutherland had raised only $4,601, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Celis moved from Mexico to Canada and then to the U.S., where he eventually became a distinguished engineer at Microsoft before retiring in 2012. In a phone interview, Celis said he is running because he "came here with nothing and lived the American Dream," which he hopes to preserve.
Celis said there was not much to report Tuesday based on the preliminary numbers.
"We'll wait for them to start processing the rest of the ballots and look at them tomorrow," Celis said. "I think there's few people that voted in this primary, very, very, very few."
DelBene, an ex-Microsoft vice president, is fresh off her first term in the Republican-majority House, where she served on the Committee on Agriculture (a rare thing for a new member of Congress) and helped pass a farm bill, which was one of the only large pieces of legislation to pass the 113th Congress.
The 1st District encompasses most of Whatcom County except for Bellingham, Sudden Valley and areas to the southwest. It also includes most of eastern Skagit and Snohomish counties and part of King County.
In Washington's 2nd Congressional District race, seven-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat, likely will face off against Republican challenger B.J. Guillot.
The two were leading vote counts reported Tuesday night, with Larsen at 57 percent of the vote and Guillot at 32 percent.
Independent challenger Mike Lapointe was a distant third with 11 percent of the early tally.
The 2nd District encompasses most of Bellingham, Sudden Valley, and southwestern Whatcom County, as well as Island and San Juan counties and the western portions of Skagit and Snohomish counties.
Larsen serves on the House's Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He is socially liberal and has said he will work to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. He also voiced support for job-creating transportation and export projects like the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point.
"I think as it plays out, it'll be a Democrat, me, going forward and a Republican going forward," Larsen said. "I fully expect that most of the independent vote will go my way, in part because a lot of the work we've done is on transportation."
Guillot, a Republican software developer and Marysville Library board member, said he had hoped for more of the vote but was generally happy with the early results.
"I wish to at least congratulate Mike Lapointe for fighting a hard campaign," Guillot said. "With these preliminary results the disappointing thing is Rick Larsen had over 50 percent. I've got a very big job ahead."