Democrat with early lead in key Washington Senate race

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Democrat took a strong lead in a state Senate race that will determine the balance of power at the Washington Capitol.

Manka Dhingra was leading Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund with 55 percent of the vote Tuesday night. Under the state’s vote-by-mail system, ballots just need to be postmarked or dropped off by Tuesday, which means final results may not be known for days. The next ballot update is set for late Wednesday afternoon.

Republicans, with the help of a Democrat who caucuses with them, currently control the Senate by a single seat. Democrats hold a slim majority in the House.

If the results hold, Washington will join Oregon and California with Democratic one-party rule in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.