All eyes on Washington's 8th Congressional District

SEATTLE -- Democrats in Washington state celebrated early primary returns as they seek to capture three GOP-held seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The contest getting the most attention is the 8th Congressional District, east of Seattle, where Democrats hope to flip a seat that has been red since its creation in 1980. The seat is currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, who announced his intention to retire earlier this year.

Republican Dino Rossi, a former state senator who unsuccessfully ran for governor and U.S. Senate, was leading a crowded ballot Thursday and will easily advance to the general election.

Among a dozen other candidates running for the seat, one of two Democrats is expected to advance to face Rossi: pediatrician Kim Schrier, or attorney Jason Rittereiser.

Schrier maintained her lead over Rittereiser Thursday, but the margin is still too close to call.

In early returns, the top three Democrats on the ballot, combined, had a larger vote total than Rossi, leading the Washington State Democratic Party to celebrate its showing.

“Currently in the 8th Congressional District, Democrats collectively are outperforming three-time statewide loser Republican Dino Rossi by 6 points," the party said in a primary night release. "Despite having nearly universal name recognition, Rossi is nowhere near getting 50% of the votes in his district, as voters are rejecting him in no uncertain terms.”

Q13 News Correspondent Brandi Kruse spoke with the top two candidates on "Q13 News This Morning." Jason Rittereiser's campaign declined an interview Wednesday morning, citing scheduling conflicts.