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Incumbent Dow Constantine leads primary race for King County executive

Washington State Senator Joe Nguyen is trailing with 32% of the vote.
Credit: KING
King County Executive Dow Constantine speaks during a news conference on September 4, 2019.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Incumbent Dow Constantine is leading the primary race for King County executive.

Constantine has 53% of the vote after the fourth round of ballot counts Friday afternoon.

Top challenger Joe Nguyen is trailing Constantine with 32% of the vote. 

Bill Hirt has 11% of the vote.

The top two primary candidates move on to the general election in November.

"I think if I were the executive with these numbers, I’d be a little concerned. He’s going to have to put the jets on and really work hard to get higher percentages," KING 5 Political analyst Ron Sims said.

Constantine is running for a fourth term as King County Executive, an office he was originally elected to in 2009 when he beat out former TV anchor Susan Hutchison for the seat. 

A lifelong King County resident, Constantine lists his priorities as "building strong, inclusive communities," and "pandemic recovery that puts people first." 

Constantine is endorsed by Governor Jay Inslee, as well as former governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire, among others

Senator Joe Nguyen who represents Washington's 34th district posed the first serious challenge to Constantine's seat since he was first elected. Nguyen grew up in White Center, where his parents settled after fleeing the Vietnam war. He is the first Vietnamese American elected to the Washington state Senate. Nguyen said his priorities are housing affordability and homelessness, achieving climate goals and criminal justice reform. 

Nguyen is endorsed by Washington State Treasurer Mike Pelliciotti and representatives Kirsten Harris-Talley and David Hackney, among others

Hirt, a former Boeing engineer, is opposed to the Northgate Link light rail expansion set to open in September. He said he had no intention of winning the King County executive seat, but wanted to use the opportunity to raise awareness about his concerns. Hirt argued the light rail will have high operating costs with a limited impact on traffic congestion.