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Originally published November 6, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Page modified November 6, 2012 at 11:46 PM

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Democrats leading in state races

Democrats are winning in state's major races.

Seattle Times Olympia bureau

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Ok Democrats, you're winning I'll admit. The reasons I don't know, but I wonder if... MORE
Oh Goody,Lets see what other lands Peter will close off now that he has been reelected MORE
tax more and spend is all the democrats care about, i am an independent voter, unbiased... MORE

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State Rep. Troy Kelley, D-University Place, was leading Republican business consultant James Watkins in the hotly contested race to replace retiring state Auditor Brian Sonntag.

In an incomplete vote count Tuesday, Kelley had about 52 percent of the vote compared to 48 percent for Watkins.

"I think the numbers look good; we're feeling relatively comfortable," Kelley said late Tuesday.

Watkins said it was still too early to say.

Kelley spent much of the election defending himself from allegations raised by Watkins about a lawsuit that accused Kelley of misappropriating customer funds, fraudulently transferring funds, tax evasion and lying. Kelley paid an undisclosed amount to settle the suit.

Kelley questioned Watkins' claims regarding experience doing performance audits.

The state auditor's office does financial and legal compliance audits of state and local government, as well as performance audits to find efficiencies in government operations.

The office has 336 full-time employees.

Secretary of state

Democrat Kathleen Drew was in a dead heat with Republican Kim Wyman in the race to replace retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed. If Drew wins, she would be the first Democratic secretary of state since 1964.

The secretary of state oversees state and local elections, registers and licenses private corporations and is in charge of the state archives. The office has 260 full-time employees.

Wyman is the Thurston County auditor. Drew is a former state senator.

Lieutenant governor

Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen was leading former state Senate Republican Leader Bill Finkbeiner by about 54 percent to 46 percent.

Owen has been lieutenant governor since 1997.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and takes command when the governor is out of state.

Finkbeiner is a moderate Republican who provided a key vote needed to pass a landmark gay-rights bill in 2006.

Commissioner of public lands

Public Lands Commissioner Democrat Peter Goldmark won re-election. Goldmark had 58 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Republican tea-party favorite Clint Didier.

Didier, a Pasco farmer and former NFL player and primary candidate, lost to Dino Rossi in the 2010 primary for the U.S. Senate.

The lands commissioner heads up the state Department of Natural Resources and oversees 1 million acres of farmland, 2 million acres of forest land and 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands. The agency has more than 1,400 full-time employees.

Insurance commissioner

Incumbent Democrat Mike Kreidler won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in initial returns.

Republican John Adams, an insurance underwriter and broker, was trailing with 42 percent of the vote.

Kreidler was first elected as insurance commissioner in 2000. His office, which has 214 full-time employees, oversees Washington's insurance industry, including licensing and auditing companies based in the state.

State treasurer

Incumbent Democrat Jim McIntire won re-election as state treasurer.

McIntire had about 58 percent of the vote compared to roughly 42 percent for Republican Sharon Hanek, who runs a tax- and business-advisory service.

The treasurer's office, which has 62 full-time employees, manages the state's cash flow, invests the state's operating cash in short-term, interest-bearing accounts, and manages the state's bond sales.

Superintendent of public instruction

State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn breezed to re-election as the only candidate for the office on the ballot, running unopposed after winning 56 percent of the vote in the primary election.

Andrew Garber: 360-236-8266 or agarber@seattletimes.com. Material from The Seattle Times archives was used in this story.

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