Sen. Patty Murray has early lead in Wash.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Democratic incumbent Patty Murray is leading Republican Dino Rossi in Washington state's closely watched U.S. Senate race.

Murray, currently No. 4 in Senate leadership, has about 51 percent of the vote to Rossi's roughly 49 percent with about half the vote counted.

It can take several days to recieve and tally all the ballots in Washington's vote-by-mail elections.

The state has a history of narrow races in recent major elections. Rossi was on the losing end of its closest: The 2004 governor's race, which took three vote counts, a lawsuit and nearly eight months to finally resolve.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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