Political newcomer Susheela Jayapal tonight is handily winning the four-way race to succeed Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.

Jayapal, a former corporate lawyer and longtime community volunteer, defeated construction contractor Sharon Maxwell, non-profit administrator Bruce Broussard and Maria Garcia, who owns a downtown coffee shop.

Jayapal has 57 percent of the vote in early returns—which appears to be enough to avoid a November run-off.

Jayapal, the former general counsel at Adidas America, became a clear front-runner in February when another opponent, Black Parent Initiative CEO Charles McGee, dropped out of the race following a WW story about his allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in 2012.

Jayapal's sister, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) represents Seattle in Congress.

Meanwhile, the race for county auditor is too close to call between Scott Learn and Jennifer McGuirk, and appears headed to a November runoff.

Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury is cruising to reelection with 70.9 percent of the vote against three challengers.

"I'm very excited for another four years," Kafoury said at the offices of Wheelhouse NW.

"We have a lot of tough issues to tackle ahead and a great team. I look forward to welcoming Susheela [Jayapal] to the commission."