Democratic Rep. Suzan Delbene leading Republican rival 55-45% in early returns

SEATTLE -- In Washington, there is no U.S. Senate race, but there’s at least one competitive U.S. House contest in Western Washington that we’ll be watching as returns come in.

In the 1st Congressional District, that stretches all the way from Redmond to the Canadian border, Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBene is vying for re-election.  This comes in a year when the leader of her party, President Obama, is extremely unpopular.

DelBene spent the morning waving signs at an intersection in Kirkland.

“People are frustrated with the gridlock that they’ve seen in D.C. and we need lawmakers who are willing to work with others in a bipartisan way,” DelBene said.

Her opponent is Republican first-timer Pedro Celis, who has spent all season tying his challenger to the sluggish economy and Obamacare.

With 119,507 votes counted Tuesday night, DelBene was comfortably leading Celis 55-45%.

In the state's only open congressional race, Republican former state legislator and agriculture secretary Dan Newhouse was slightly leading tea-party Republican Clint Didier 52-48% with 90,950 votes counted.

Another set of races to watch are a handful of key state Senate contests that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.

Currently, the Republican-led coalition holds 26 seats and the Democrats hold 23 seats.  To gain control, Democrats would need to win at least two close elections, which would bring the balance of power to 25-23 in their favor.