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Originally published Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM

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Kilmer and Driscoll leading in 6th Congressional District race

Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer and Republican real-estate executive and Marine Bill Driscoll will face off for the 6th District U.S. House seat left open by longtime Rep. Norm Dicks, who did not seek re-election. Most Washington congressional-delegation members running for re-election racked up strong numbers in the primary election.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer won a commanding victory in a seven-way contest for the 6th District U.S. House seat left open by longtime Rep. Norm Dicks, who did not seek re-election.

Republican real-estate executive and Marine Bill Driscoll, with 18 percent of the vote, was on track to face Kilmer, with 54 percent, in the general election. Most Washington congressional-delegation members running for re-election, including Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Jim McDermott, Rick Larsen, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, racked up strong numbers compared with their numerous and mostly underfunded challengers.

Those incumbents all were winning more than half the primary votes in initial returns.

Cantwell, a Democrat, bested seven challengers, winning 56 percent of first-day votes, ahead of Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, of Pullman, with 30 percent. Sixth District candidates Kilmer and Driscoll are vying to replace Dicks, who has been in office 36 years. "I've been saying we need someone who will fight for the middle class and who understands what the middle class is going through, and I think tonight's results are a show of support for that," Kilmer said.

Driscoll, who held a 7 percentage-point lead over third-place Republican Jesse Young, said, "I think our success is driven by a nonpolitician coming in with a focus really on solving the deficits and the debt issue. We'll focus on a nonpartisan, nonpolitical approach."

The redrawn 6th District encompasses northern Tacoma, Bainbridge Island and the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.

One independent and four Republicans were knocked out in the 6th District primary.

In other congressional races:

• Former Democratic state legislator Denny Heck was leading Republican Pierce County Councilmember Dick Muri in a field of six candidates in the new 10th District.

The primary set the stage for what could be a tough November fight. Heck took 41 percent of first-day votes, and Muri won 26 percent.

Heck, an early investor in RealNetworks and an entrepreneur and former state legislator, loaned $100,000 to his $1.4 million campaign fund. The 6th District, stretching from Tacoma to Olympia, includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

• McDermott, a Democrat, got 69 percent in the 7th District, followed by Republican Ron Bemis with 16 percent in the 7th District.

• Democrat Rick Larsen, seeking a seventh term as the 2nd District congressman, drew 60 percent, besting five other candidates, including second-place Republican Dan Matthews with 27 percent.

• Dave Reichert, the GOP 8th District congressman completing his fourth term, took 50 percent to Democrat Karen Porterfield's 29 percent, ahead of four other challengers.

• Adam Smith, the 9th District's Democratic incumbent, took 61 percent to Republican Jim Postma's 23 percent. Three other candidates were swept aside.

• Third District Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, received 55 percent, and will face Democrat Jon T. Haugen, 39 percent.

• Republican Rep. Doc Hastings and Democrat Mary Baechler advanced to the November election in the 4th District.

• Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democrat Rich Cowan were the top two in the 5th District.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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