Democrat Jay Inslee said Wednesday that he is forming a transition team to prepare to become Washington state’s next governor.
The former congressman leads Republican Rob McKenna 51 percent to 49 percent. Although votes are still being counted, Inslee said he is not going to wait to get to work.
“We have some big challenges and great opportunities and we want to hit the ground running,” said Inslee.
KING 5 political analysts said McKenna needed to get at least 40 percent of the vote in King County to have a shot at winning. By Wednesday morning, the Secretary of State’s office reported McKenna had won only 37 percent.
Two men who know the pressures of a gubernatorial race, Dino Rossi, who ran as the Republican candidate in 2004 and 2008, and former Governor Mike Lowry, agreed that McKenna must have a strong count in traditionally Democratic King County in order to win.
"When I was certified Governor Elect twice in '04 it was over 40 percent. That is kind of the magic number in King County," said Rossi, who eventually lost the election to Governor Chris Gregoire in a recount.
"If Rob is to have a chance to win this, he has to come in somewhere pretty close to 40 percent," said Lowry, who served as governor from 1993 to 1997.
"There are other scenarios when you could be a little less than (40 percent) as long as you pump up the vote in some of the rural counties," Rossi said. "I think by the end of the day today you're going to have a fairly clear picture."
The next vote count is expected after 4:00 p.m.
"We've done a very sophisticated analysis and we believe there is great reason for confidence that the ballots are going to come out with me given an opportunity to lead the state of Washington," said Inslee.
A measure to approve marriage equality in Washington state was passing. Inslee said he believed approval of the measure and an increase in diversity would encourage talented workers to move to Washington and therefore help the state economy.