By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Democrat Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor, who was born and raised in Port Angeles, built such an overwhelming lead against Republican Bill Driscoll of Tacoma on Tuesday night in the 6th Congressional District general election race that Driscoll conceded by 9:30 p.m.
With 57 percent of the vote tallied as of this morning, Kilmer had 116,949 votes, or 58 percent, to Driscoll's 83,740 votes, or 42 percent, in the race to succeed retiring 18-term U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, who had endorsed Kilmer.
The 325,000-voter 6th Congressional District contains Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Mason and Kitsap counties and part of Tacoma in Pierce County, with 70,000 of those voters from Clallam and Jefferson counties.
In a prepared statement Tuesday night, Kilmer all but declared victory.
“Tonight's results show that folks want a congressman who understands what struggling middle-class families and small businesses are going through and who will who cut through the partisan gridlock to deliver real results to help them,” Kilmer said.
“I'm honored by their confidence in me to make that happen,” said Kilmer, 38, a 26th District state senator and Gig Harbor resident.
“I congratulate Bill on running a vigorous and hard-fought campaign.”
Driscoll, 50, told the Peninsula Daily News that he had already spoken to Kilmer and conceded the contest.
“We've conceded on this side,” Driscoll said.
"I've got great respect for Derek and I truly wish him and his family well,” he said.
“While we may not agree on all the approaches to things, I think we have the same goals for this country and the district.”
Driscoll is a political newcomer with business and family ties to the forest products industry.
In Clallam County, the vote was 13,687 votes for Kilmer, or 53 percent, to 12,291, for Driscoll, or 47 percent, with 26,870 ballots counted that were returned as of Monday and with 57 percent of the possible vote tabulated.
There were 47,157 ballots mailed to voters, with 5,481 ballots on hand but uncounted.
That's a total return of 32,351 votes, or a turnout of 65.6 percent, on Tuesday night.
In addition to ballots on hand, Auditor Patty Rosand expects about 8,000 more ballots to come in for a final voter turnout of 86 percent.
The next count will be at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Rosand predicted a final voter turnout of 86 percent.
In Jefferson County, the vote was 9,715 votes for Kilmer, or 66 percent, to 4,972 for Driscoll, or 34 percent, with 15,382 ballots counted out of 22,738 issued or 67 percent of the possible vote.
The next count of votes — including those received Tuesday — will be at about noon Friday.
Counties must certify election results by Nov. 27.
Driscoll, a graduate of Bates College, Northwestern University and the Army Ranger School, pumped $1 million of his own money into his campaign.
He had raised $1.61 million toward his campaign as of Oct. 17, according to the Federal Election Commission.
That compares to the $1.68 million in contributions Kilmer raised as of Oct. 17, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Kilmer, a graduate of Port Angeles High School, Princeton University and the University of Oxford, drew 53 percent of the vote in a field of seven candidates in the primary.
Driscoll advanced to the general election by finishing second, garnering 18 percent of the vote.
In a late-September KING 5 News poll, Kilmer led Driscoll 52 percent to 37 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.