Republican Kim Wyman appeared certain to advance to the general election in her bid to replace retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed in November, based on early returns.
Her Democratic opponent seemed most likely to be former State Senator Kathleen Drew.
Wyman, the Thurston County auditor, held a big lead as the only Republican in a field of six candidates, with 39 percent of the early vote count.
Drew was leading two other Democratic rivals with 21 percent. Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had 16 percent while state Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, had 14 percent.