OLYMPIA, Wash. — It's looking more likely that the race for Washington's 9th Congressional District will have two Democrats on the ballot in November.
After King and Pierce Counties updated their ballot counts Friday night, Democrat Sarah Smith was 2,582 votes ahead of Republican Doug Basler, a significant jump from her 196-vote lead the day before. If her lead holds, she'll advance along with Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, who has represented the district that includes part of Seattle for more than two decades.
Under Washington's primary system, all candidates appear on the same ballot and the top two vote getters advance to the general election, regardless of party. Washington is a vote by mail state and elections officials will continue tallying ballots next week.
Sarah Smith was recruited to run by Brand New Congress, the same group that backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's Democratic primary this summer.
Another race where votes were still being tallied is the 8th Congressional District, where Democrat Kim Schrier is maintaining her lead for the second spot in hopes of advancing to the general election.
Schrier, a pediatrician, increased her lead in updated returns Friday over attorney Jason Rittereiser. Republican Dino Rossi, a former state lawmaker who had unsuccessful runs for governor and the U.S. Senate, advanced Tuesday to the November election.
The two are seeking the seat left open by long-time incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, who is retiring. The seat has been held by Republicans since it was created in the early 1980s.
The district includes the eastern suburbs of Seattle and stretches into the rural Cascade Mountains. It is among about two dozen across the country that are held by Republicans but whose voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, making it a critical potential pickup for the Democrats trying to gain control of the House for the first time since 2010.
The race is one of three GOP-held congressional districts that Democrats are hopeful of capturing in November. In the 5th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a top Republican House leader, held a narrow lead over Democrat Lisa Brown. Both have advanced to the November ballot.
In the 3rd Congressional District in southwestern Washington, incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler advanced along with Democrat Carolyn Long, a professor at Washington State University-Vancouver. In updated returns, Herrera Beutler maintained her lead over Long. Herrera Beutler has won her last two elections with more than 60 percent of the vote.