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Originally published Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

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DelBene holds edge in costly 1st District primary

Former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene holds an edge over her Democratic counterparts in Washington's costly 1st District primary.

Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene holds an edge over her Democratic counterparts in Washington's costly 1st District primary.

DelBene had 23 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, ahead of political activist Darcy Burner, who had 13 percent. As expected, Republican John Koster was winning the primary race with 47 percent of the vote. He was the only GOP candidate in the field.

The remainder of the votes were divided among four other candidates.

Washington's 1st Congressional District was carved during the redistricting process to be a tossup for Republicans and Democrats. It stretches from eastern King County areas such as the wealthy enclave of Medina all the way to the northern border.

The seat was left open this year because of the departure of Rep. Jay Inslee, who is now running for governor.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Washington state's most competitive congressional district has produced one of the most costly races in the country.

The rancorous primary battle among several Democratic candidates is set to be decided in Tuesday's election, with the winner moving on to the November election campaign - likely against John Koster, who is the only Republican in the race and is expected to advance.

The 1st Congressional District was carved during the redistricting process to be a tossup for Republicans and Democrats. It stretches from eastern King County areas such as the wealthy enclave of Medina all the way to the northern border.

Former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene has spent some $2.3 million in the race, flooding televisions with ads. Political activist Darcy Burner and former state Rep. Laura Ruderman each have spent about $470,000, while other candidates have spent less, with businessman Darshan Rauniyar at $160,000 and state Sen. Steve Hobbs at $150,000. Larry Ishmael, an independent on the ballot, has not reported any fundraising.

Combined, the candidates have already spent close to $4 million, making it the seventh most expensive U.S. House race in the country, according to numbers compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Ruderman's mother helped pay for ads against DelBene, with the parent saying she was "frustrated" that DelBene's wealth could help fund the campaign.

Negative ads in the race prompted U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to ask fellow Democrats to avoid getting into a messy fight.

The 1st District is an open seat this year due to the departure of Jay Inslee, a Democrat now running for governor. That will complicate things for some voters, as the election also will decide who will finish Inslee's term representing the old 1st District boundaries, which cover Seattle's northern suburbs.

Candidates, not wanting a disadvantage in the full-term race, have entered both contests - leaving some people to perhaps see the same person twice on the ballot. Others also filed for the short-term job, including J. Bryon Holcomb, Brian Berry and Ruth Morrison, all Democrats; Republican Steven Gerdes; and Independent Bob Champion.

All of the state's 10 congressional districts are on the ballot. But besides the 1st District, only two U.S. House races have no incumbent.

In the 10th District, a new seat formed by redistricting and anchored around Olympia, has drawn a competitive Republican showdown between two Pierce County councilmen - Stan Flemming and Dick Muri. TVW founder Denny Heck is the establishment Democratic candidate in the race, while family therapist Jennifer Ferguson also is running as a Democrat.

The race also features environmental activist Sue Gunn and teacher Steve Hannon.

In the 6th District, which spans much of the Olympic Peninsula, Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks is retiring. There's only one Democrat looking to replace him, current state Sen. Derek Kilmer, but there are several Republicans: businessman Bill Driscoll, lawyer Doug Cloud, technology consultant Jesse Young, businessman Ike Eichner and small business owner Stephan Andrew Brodhead.

Eric Arentz Jr. is an independent in the race.

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