With the first batch of votes from counties across the state in and counted, Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens is headed for a primary night victory. Her big lead over two little-known challengers and 60 percent plus statewide total means she will likely appear on the November ballot alone.
But another incumbent justice, Steven Gonzalez who was appointed in January, was in a closer race with Bruce Danielson. Gonzalez was splitting the vote across the state before he received a huge boost from his home county of King that gave him a 57 percent to 43 percent advantage. Whichever candidate wins the primary will appear alone on the general election ballot.
Gonzalez was winning just nine of 39 counties but they were the biggies – King at 75 percent, Pierce at 61 percent, Snohomish at 60 percent and Thursday at 58.
In the third race, this for the vacancy being left by retiring Justice Tom Chambers, four candidates were battling in hopes of finishing in the top two and advancing to the general. Sheryl McCloud was leading with nearly one-third of the statewide vote with King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer and former Justice Richard Sanders essentially tied though with Sanders a bit ahead. Former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg was fourth, winning a plurality in only his home of Pierce.
Hilyer has an advantage in big King County but Sanders was winning the plurality in 11 mid-sized to small counties and finishing second to McCloud in Spokane, Clark, Kitsap and Snohomish.