The results might be preliminary, but the final outcome is certain: Three incumbent Republicans will continue to represent the 8th District. The ballot count from Tuesday night had two of the candidates trouncing their opponents. The third ran unopposed.
Incumbent Sen. Jerome Delvin of Richland easily beat fellow Republican Brad Anderson, also of Richland. Both candidates lean conservative, and no major ideological differences emerged between them in the campaign.
Anderson, a former sheet metal worker, said he offered a fresh perspective -- but voters appear to have chosen experience in state government instead.
Delvin has served five terms in the House and six years in the state Senate.
Never miss a local story.
"I have a good record," Delvin said. "It's all about name recognition."
He received 64 percent support this time -- 19,435 votes.
The Position 1 House race was close two years ago, when the same two opponents faced off. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, beat the Democrat, former Richland councilwoman Carol Moser, by a few points in 2008.
This time, it looked as if the race might be close again.
Moser's stock seemed to rise when Klippert suggested last month that a state prison and an oil refinery should be built on the Hanford site to replace the economic impact existing projects there have on the region.
The 8th District encompasses Kennewick, Richland, Prosser, Benton City and the Hanford site.
The region needs to continue to build up its technology and research infrastructure, Moser, a state transportation commissioner countered.
But other issues seemed to outweigh her vision for Hanford.
Tuesday's results indicate Klippert beat Moser easily, winning 62 percent of the vote, or 20,143 votes. Moser drew 12,385 votes.
Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, won a fourth term unopposed for House Position 2, after beating his same-party challenger by double digits two years ago. Almost 100 percent of the ballots -- 26,502 voters -- gave Haler the nod this time. And 550 voters chose a write-in candidate instead.
Tuesday night's results don't include all ballots.
About three-quarters of the ballots typically are counted on election night, said Stuart Holmes, election supervisor for Benton County.
"We're trying to get on what we received through yesterday by tonight," Holmes said Tuesday. The auditor's office had received 36,220 ballots from the 8th District by Monday night, he said.
By about 6 p.m. Tuesday, that number had climbed to 45,059, he said.
Elections staff will try to get most of the ballots received after Monday night counted today and finish up the job Thursday, Holmes said.
The county sent out 76,690 ballots to 8th District voters, he said. Election results will be certified Nov. 23.
Winners and losers took different messages away from the blowouts.
Klippert said his fiscal conservatism gave him an edge as voters across the country rewarded many Republicans with similar leanings.
"Voters want to see this economy recover," said the former sheriff's deputy. "In the next two years, I'll be working on creating a balanced budget without raising taxes. I believe we can do it."
Delvin, who's represented the District for 16 years, said he would only interpret his victory as a mandate to do things differently if Republicans become the majority party in the state Senate or House.
Otherwise," I'll continue to represent the district as I have in the past," he said.
Anderson, a first-time candidate, said he knew he faced an uphill battle, and part of his objective was to get Delvin "back in touch with the people."
He's not giving up on becoming a public servant, he said.
He plans to return to the campaign trail for another office "in a week or two," he said. He declined to specify which office he would seek. But run again he will.
"I guarantee this will not be the last time (voters) hear from me," Anderson said.