All the talk this year about California's Top Two primary system may have obscured the fact that Washington State has used Top Two (in which the first and second place finishers in any primary, regardless of party or percentage of the vote, proceed to the general election) since 2008.
To be clear, Republicans and Democrats aren't running against each other yet. By Thursday, she held a mere 198-vote lead over the Republican.
After the initial vote count Tuesday evening, former Washington state Republican Party Chair Chris Vance, who has since left the party to support independent candidates, tweeted: "Tonight, this looks like 1994 in reverse".
Long-time incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is retiring.
Special elections are not a ideal predictor of November, but if those enthusiasm gaps hold for dozens of more fundamentally competitive seats in November, Democrats would stand a strong chance of emerging with the House majority and be poised for statehouse gains, as well. The district includes the eastern suburbs of Seattle and stretches into the rural Cascade Mountains.
The race is one of three GOP-held congressional districts that Democrats are hopeful of capturing in November. Both have advanced to the November ballot.
The latest indicator came Tuesday in OH, where Republican Troy Balderson holds a narrow lead over his Democratic rival, Danny O'Connor, setting up a potential recount in a suburban and small-town congressional district that President Donald Trump won by more than 11 percentage points and that Republicans have held since 1980.
Herrera Beutler hasn't had a real race since 2010, but the preliminary August 7 top-two primary results are a wake up call: she took just 41 percent to WSU-Vancouver law professor Carolyn Long's 37 percent. In updated returns, Herrera Beutler maintained her lead over Long. The latest vote count Friday widened Sarah Smith's lead over her Republican opponent, yet she is still behind the incumbent.