Local

Hastings gets most votes in district race

U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and their leading challengers were easily dispatching little-known candidates in 4th and 5th congressional district primaries Tuesday.

In Central Washington's 4th District, Hastings, R-Pasco, had 54,712 votes, or 61 percent, and Kennewick Democrat George Fearing had 31,286 votes, or 35 percent.

Both will advance to the general election. The odd man out, once again, is perennial candidate Gordon Allen Pross, an Ellensburg Republican. He was getting 4,227 votes, or nearly 5 percent.

Hastings and Fearing hailed the results.

"I'm very pleased with tonight's results and give credit to our strong grassroots campaign team across Central Washington for the strong showing," Hastings said in a statement. "We're now headed towards November and I intend to run as hard as ever."

Fearing said he believes more Barack Obama supporters will come out of the woodwork for the general election to bolster his campaign.

"I'm ecstatic," he said. "We're right where we want to be."

He bases his optimism in part due to what he said was a bump that Democrat Richard Wright got between the 2006 primary and general election against Hastings. But that was using the old pick-a-party primary that limited voters to choosing only from one party's slate of candidates, preventing anyone who chose a Republican ballot from voting for Wright in the primary.

Hastings polled at similar clips in Benton and Franklin counties. In Benton County, he was leading 60 percent to Fearing's 36 percent. And in Frankin County, Hastings was leading 61 percent to Fearing's 35 percent.

In Eastern Washington's 5th District, Republican McMorris Rodgers will be joined by Democrat Mark Mays in the Nov. 4 general election. She was leading the six-way race with 58,357 votes, or 55 percent. Mays had 21,522 votes, or 20 percent.

Democrat Barbara Lampert had 13,603 votes, or 13 percent, Republican Kurt Erickson had 7,811 votes, or 7 percent, the Constitution Party's Randall Yearout was getting 3,109 votes, or nearly 3 percent, and Libertarian John Beck followed with 2,292 votes, or 2 percent.

In Walla Walla County, McMorris Rodgers was leading with 59 percent of the vote, Mays got 14 percent, Lampert 13 percent, Erickson 9 percent, Yearout 2 percent and Beck about 2 percent.

"I feel good about tonight's numbers -- although tonight is only the first snapshot and our final vote totals won't be known for at least another week," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. "I am confident our margin of victory will only increase as more ballots are counted."

Mays could not be reached for comment.

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