Tuesday's primary results showed Pasco Congressman Doc Hastings well on his way to the general election in November and likely a 10th term.
Hastings raked in 38,034 votes, or 57 percent, leading the race for Washington's 4th Congressional District, which represents Adams, Benton, Franklin, Grant, Okan-ogan and Yakima counties, and parts of Douglas and Walla Walla counties.
Coming in a distant second was Yakima Democrat Mary Baechler, who earned 18,848 votes, or 28 percent.
"I've been campaigning pretty much every day. I've been so grateful for the support that's come from the Tri-Cities. I'm just going to work harder ... to try to make the right decisions based on what are the right things to do for the country," Baechler told the Herald on Tuesday.
If Tuesday's results hold as ballots continue to trickle in, Hastings and Baechler will face off in the Nov. 6general election.
Under Washington's primary system, the top two vote-getters in each race advance.
Kennewick Republican Jamie Wheeler picked up 7,368 votes, or 11 percent, while Ephrata Democrat Mohammad H. Said received 2,012 votes, or 3 percent.
"I'm very honored by the strong primary election results and thank the voters for their support," Hastings said in a statement. "Voters will have a clear choice in November between the Democrat candidate who is devoted to President Obama's liberal government-knows-best agenda, and my commitment to end Obamacare, the bailouts, the out-of-control spending, and the endless government red-tape in order to free small businesses to create new jobs and grow our economy."
Wheeler fared slightly better in Benton and Franklin counties, where she's had local tea party support, than in the district on average.
In Benton County, she earned 2,686 votes, or 12 percent. Hastings picked up 13,228 votes, or 58 percent, while Baechler received 6,110 votes, or 27 percent. Said received 668 votes or 3 percent.
In Franklin County, Wheeler received 552 votes, or 12 percent. Hastings received 2,779 votes, or 59 percent. Baechler won 1,230 votes, or 26 percent. Said got 152 votes, or 3 percent.
Hastings serves as chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and has been a vocal supporter of oil drilling offshore and on public lands, and an opponent of breaching Northwest hydroelectric dams.
He also has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama two years ago.
He was re-elected to his current term in 2010 with 67 percent of the vote and has raised $1.3 million toward this year's campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Baechler is a a businesswoman, community organizer and horse breeder, who said her primary reasons for running were to protect Social Security and Medicare from proposed changes or cuts.
She supports the Affordable Care Act and reforming campaign finance laws.
Baechler said she's raised about $10,000 for her campaign so far.
The position pays $174,000.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org