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Washington’s Primary Election: Turnout predicted at 41 percent

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The secretary of state’s office has predicted turnout for the Washington state primary will be at about 41 percent, and as of Monday evening, about 18 percent of the 4.1 million ballots sent to voters had been returned.

Ballots must be either postmarked or dropped off at a local drop box by Tuesday.

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Several prominent Democrats are vying to succeed Rep. Jim McDermott, the longtime Seattle congressman who is retiring after nearly 30 years in office.

McDermott, a Democrat first elected in 1988, served 14 terms in Congress. In early January, he announced he would not seek re-election to his 7th District seat.

State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw was the first prominent Democrat to enter the race, challenging McDermott even before his retirement announcement. State Rep. Pramila Jayapa and King County Councilman Joe McDermott, no relation to Jim McDermott, later announced their candidacies.

The top two vote getters, regardless of party, advance to the November election.

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Washington’s voters are weighing in on dozens of races across the state as they winnow their choices for offices ranging from Congress to the Legislature in the state’s primary election.

Voters will decide Tuesday between 11 candidates for governor, though Democratic incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant are expected to easily advance to November. The open seat for lieutenant governor has also drawn 11 candidates, including three Democratic state senators. Other open statewide races include: auditor, lands commissioner, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction.

More than four million of the state’s registered voters started receiving their ballots in the mail weeks ago for the top two primary, in which the top two vote getters advance to the November ballot, regardless of party. Because Washington is an all-mail-ballot state, results may take days to come in as the ballots — which just need to be postmarked by Tuesday — arrive in elections offices.