Rob McKenna (R)

John Ladenburg (D)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-Republican Rob McKenna came out on top in Tuesday's first top-two primary in Washington's attorney general primary.

McKenna, the popular current attorney general, came out ahead of Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, the Democratic nominee.

Since McKenna and Ladenburg were the top two vote getters, they will move to the general election. McKenna had 55.7 percent of the vote, compared to Ladenburg's 44 percent.

McKenna said in a statement he was pleased with the strong support he received.

"My strong lead was achieved without spending money on television, radio, or mailers. Now that the primary is behind us, I am looking ahead to November and the task of ensuring that all voters are familiar with my strong record of fighting crime and protecting families," McKenna said.

Ladenburg had hammered McKenna for appearing in a series of public service announcements that critics said amounted to improper campaign ads.

In an earlier interview with Legal Newsline, Ladenburg proposed a ban on appearances by elected officials in public service announcements during an election year.

In the Supreme Court race, it appears that Justices Mary Fairhurst and Charles Johnson will gain re-election. Both candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote in early returns. Justice Debra Stephens ran unopposed in the primary.

For judicial candidates, if they get more than 50 percent of the primary vote, they advance to the general election unopposed.

Washington voters in 2004 approved the top-two primary, and the system withstood challenges and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.

Tuesday's election marked the first time since 2003 that Washington voters could pick their favorite candidate for each office regardless of party affiliations.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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