- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Democratic State Rep. Pramila Jayapal has advanced to the general election in the race to succeed Rep Jim McDermott, the long-time Seattle congressman who is retiring after nearly 30 years in office.

But which fellow Democrat she’ll face in November was still undecided after early results in Tuesday’s primary. Jayapal was taking about 38 percent of the early vote, while State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw and King County Councilman Joe McDermott, no relation to Jim McDermott, were each at about 21 percent. The top two vote getters, regardless of party, go on to the November ballot.

Jim McDermott, a Democrat first elected in 1988, served 14 terms in Congress. In early January, he announced that he would not seek re-election to his 7th Congressional District seat.

Washington state’s nine other incumbent U.S. representatives all easily advanced in their primary contests.

The liberal-leaning 7th District includes most of Seattle, as well as Vashon Island and several Seattle suburbs.

Jayapal, 50, was first elected to the Legislature in 2014. She previously founded OneAmerica in response to hate crimes and discrimination against Arabs, South Asians and Muslims following the 2001 Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In Olympia, Jayapal has been a spirited debater on the Senate floor and a vocal leader for a higher statewide minimum wage, racial and gender equity, more affordable college and increasing access to reproductive health care.

Walkinshaw was the first prominent Democrat to enter the 7th District race, challenging McDermott even before his retirement announcement. Walkinshaw, 32, was first appointed to the state Legislature in 2013. His mother emigrated from Cuba in the 1960s, and he grew up in rural Whatcom County.

During the last two legislative sessions, Walkinshaw sponsored successful legislation improve mental health care and reduce opioid overdoses and drug addiction. He also sponsored a bill that allows some former prisoners to obtain jobs in fields that currently bar people based on their criminal record. It was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in March.

Joe McDermott served in the Legislature for 10 years as both a representative and a senator, has been a King County councilmember since 2010 and is on the board at Sound Transit.

Joe McDermott, 48, championed legislation along with Ed Murray, now Seattle’s mayor, allowing more rights for domestic partners - before voters approved same-sex marriage in 2012.

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