Merle Johnson is ahead with 45 percent of the vote in the West Richland mayoral race. Councilman Brent Gerry has 28 percent and Nancy Aldrich 25 percent.
The count includes ballots turned in by 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The rest will be counted starting Wednesday.
The three are hoping to succeed Donna Noski, who is serving the last months of her four-year term as mayor and decided not to run for a second term.
Johnson, 59, served on the city council for six years, from 2005-2011. Hes lived in West Richland for 17 years and works for Benton County as a noxious weed inspector.
Gerry, 57, has served on the city council since January 2010 and has lived in West Richland for 20 years. He is the owner of Richland AutoCare Center.
Aldrich, 60, served on the city council from 1994 to 2001 and again from 2004 to 2007. She works full-time as Richlands special projects coordinator in the public works department.
The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary advance to the general election on Nov. 5.