Gov. Gregoire leads Rossi in early returns, statewide and in Island County

Gov. Christine Gregoire is leading Republican Dino Rossi in the rematch of their 2004 race.

Gregoire is also in front in Island County, where Rossi won the vote in 2004 with 51 percent of the vote. In Island County, Gregoire had 7,664 votes to Rossi's 7,407 in early returns.

Statewide, Gregoire had 48 percent of ballots counted, or 360,322 votes.

Rossi had 45 percent, or 341,337 of 745,917 ballots counted.

In recent days, the Rossi campaign had tamped down expectations for the primary. That continued Tuesday night.

“We had a strong showing in the primary tonight," Rossi said in a statement to the press. "Current returns show we have received over 45 percent of the vote. To put these results into perspective, during the 2004 campaign I received just 34 percent of the vote in the primary and the general election turned out to be significantly closer."

“Fewer than half of the voters who will vote in November cast their ballots in this primary. Independent polls of all voters show this race is a statistical dead heat and I feel confident going into the general election," he added. " I’m happier having 45 percent tonight than the 34 percent we got in the 2004 primary."

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