There were no election-night surprises in local congressional races Tuesday as four U.S. House members from the South Sound appeared headed for new terms in Congress.
In the most competitive South Sound congressional race, Democratic U.S. Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia still held a comfortable lead over Republican challenger Joyce McDonald, a Pierce County councilwoman and former state legislator from Puyallup.
Heck represents the 10th Congressional District, which includes Olympia and most of Thurston County while stretching northwest to Shelton and northeast to University Place and Puyallup.
Heck said Tuesday he was sure that incumbency and a bigger campaign account helped, but “I’d like to think as well that people were paying attention to what we’ve prioritized — creating jobs and trying to move this economy forward.”
McDonald said she wasn’t surprised by the early results Tuesday, given the challenge of taking on an incumbent as well as Heck’s financial edge over her throughout the race. As of last month, Heck had amassed $1.7 million for his campaign, while McDonald had raised less than $75,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
“It’s just very difficult when you’re in a race where you’re facing an incumbent who has a whole lot of special interest money,” McDonald said Tuesday.
Also leading in his race was incumbent U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer who was defeating Republican and fellow Gig Harborite Marty McClendon by a wide margin after the first round of vote-counting. Kilmer, a freshman Democratic congressman and former state senator, is battling McClendon for a second term representing the 6th Congressional District, which runs from Tacoma through Kitsap County to the Olympic Peninsula.
Bellevue Democrat Adam Smith similarly appeared to have secured a 10th term in Congress Tuesday. Early results showed him soundly defeating Kent Republican Doug Basler in the 9th Congressional District, which stretches from the Port of Tacoma as far north as Sammamish, taking in parts of Seattle, Kent and Renton.
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican from Auburn who represents the 8th Congressional District, also led Democratic challenger Jason Ritchie, who lives in Issaquah and owns a business modifying homes for people with disabilities.
The 8th District includes communities in East Pierce and East King counties, as well as some areas of Central Washington including Wenatchee and Ellensburg.
The early results favoring sitting House members were no surprise given how well they fared in the August primary election.
In all cases, the South Sound incumbents led by double-digits in the primary, even when three or more candidates were in the race.