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Derek Kilmer and his wife, Jennifer, showed up at the Democratic Party headquarters in Silverdale right around 8 p.m. Tuesday as votes in the Sixth Congressional District were still being tallied.
Less than half an hour later, Kilmer and his supporters learned that he had won the primary for the race to replace longtime Congressman Norm Dicks in a landslide. Preliminary results showed that Kilmer earned 52.4 percent of the vote, as of Tuesday night. Republican Bill Driscoll finished the night with 17.9 percent of the counted vote, easily bouncing fellow Republicans Jesse Young, Doug Cloud, David “Ike” Eichner and Stephen Brodhead, out of the race.
The primary results weren’t very surprising to most political observers, with the top two fundraisers coming out on top. Dicks endorsed Kilmer, who has already raised about $1 million, while Driscoll, who has put more than a half-million dollars of his own money into his campaign, isn’t too far behind in fundraising.
Kilmer spoke briefly to his Silverdale supporters Tuesday after the election results came through. He told them that he would, as is his custom on election nights, write a letter to his two daughters before he went to bed.
“I want them to understand why (we’re) doing this because so much is at stake for all of us,” Kilmer said.
Kilmer emphasized his desire to improve government and support the middle class by noting that his children will eventually attend public schools and he joked about how he is still paying off his student loans. Kilmer also noted that his 102-year-old grandmother has relied on Social Security and Medicare for the past 31 years since his grandfather died.
Kilmer said that he has put in about 18,000 miles on his car so far in the campaign and said the primary results reflected his consistent message of supporting the middle class by putting people, and Congress, back to work.
Kilmer also acknowledged the hard work of his supporters by sharing a quote.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy,” Kilmer told the crowd. “You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”