Inslee Wins WA GOV Race
The nation's longest streak of Democratic governors remains intact.
After days of counting ballot's in the state's all-mail election, former Rep. Jay Inslee (D) will become Washington's 23rd governor. The Associated Press projects Inslee will defeat Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna by a narrow 51 percent to 49 percent margin, with 79 percent of precincts reporting.
McKenna, a technocrat who shunned party ideology, was considered one of Republicans' best chances of winning the governor's mansion. The state hasn't elected a Republican governor since John Spellman in 1984. As Washington state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur put it at an election night party, "If we can't elect Rob McKenna, maybe it is time to move to Texas," according to the Seattle Times. McKenna conceded the race on Friday evening, as he trailed by 40,000 votes.
McKenna's campaign struggled to defend itself against attacks by Inslee's campaign and Democratic outside groups, which tied him to far more conservative national figures. Inslee, meanwhile, portrayed himself as a representative of both sides of the Cascades who would bring green jobs to the state.
But his jobs plan was widely panned for lacking specifics, particularly by state newspapers, which endorsed McKenna over Inslee, eleven-to-one. Nonetheless, Inslee's decision to resign from Congress to mount a gubernatorial bid paid off. He will be inaugurated as Washington's fifth consecutive Democratic governor on January 14. Current Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire is retiring.
Inslee's victory leaves Republicans with just one gubernatorial pick-up this cycle, with former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory set to take the reins from Democratic North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue next year. Beginning in 2013, Republicans will hold 30 of the nation's governor's mansions, the most the party has held since before the 2000 election.