By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Three incumbent Democratic members of Congress were headed toward easy victories in early election returns Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Edmonds, led Republican Michael Baumgartner, a first-term state senator from Spokane, roughly 59 percent to 41 percent. Cantwell is seeking a third term in the Senate.
In the House, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, held a lead over his challenger, Republican Dan Matthews of Mukilteo, 61 percent to 39 percent, according to state returns. Larsen is seeking a seventh term in the House of Representatives. Matthews is a military veteran and Boeing employee.
Longtime U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, led Republican Ron Bemis, a Seattle attorney, 80 percent to 20 percent.
McDermott, 75, was first elected in 1988 and is seeking a 13th term.
After years of being almost entirely contained within the city of Seattle, McDermott’s 7th Congressional District now extends into Snohomish County following redistricting.
Last year’s revision of the map added Edmonds and Woodway to the district, along with Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Burien, Normandy Park and much of Seattle.
Redistricting made Larsen’s road to re-election much easier than his race two years ago. In 2010, he narrowly defeated his Republican opponent, Snohomish County Councilman John Koster.
The 2nd District was been redrawn to exclude most of the more conservative, rural areas in eastern Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. It also now includes areas of Democratic-leaning south Snohomish County.
“I look forward to representing new parts of south Snohomish County that have been added to the 2nd Congressional District,” Larsen, 47, said Tuesday in a written statement.
“The district is more diverse than ever, and I am eager to continue building relationships and learning more about how to best serve the needs of all residents of the district.”
Cantwell, 54, ran a low-key campaign against Baumgartner, a foreign service consultant who has spent time in Afghanistan.
Baumgartner, acknowledging he was running an underdog campaign, called for a quick exit from the war in Afghanistan. He took other positions more left-leaning than most of his fellow GOP members, including a call for more financial regulation, but differed sharply with Cantwell on Medicare reform. Baumgartner called for a voucher-type system to reform Medicare, a plan strongly opposed by Cantwell.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.