Though trailing with half the statewide votes in, Rob McKenna told supporters tonight that he's confident of victory in the end.
"I'm going to have to ask you to be patient for a few days," said the Republican contender for governor. "I know it takes a long time when you vote by mail, but it will be worth the wait."
Jay Inslee has the lead to become the next governor of Washington. With 50 percent of the vote counted statewide, the Democratic congressman is ahead of Rob McKenna by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin -- or about 950,000 votes for Inslee to 901,000 votes for McKenna.
Though it's still premature to call it, the former eight-term congressman from Bainbridge Island appears to be fairly well-positioned to continue the 28-year Democratic gubernatorial reign in Olympia. Of the 556,000 ballots counted in King County this evening -- nearly half of the votes that will eventually be tallied -- Inslee bested McKenna 62.9 to 36.9 percent, which is very good news for the Inslee camp. It is considered a fatal electoral blow if a Republican cannot garner at least 40 percent in the state's most populous, and stalwart Democratic county.
McKenna must now hope that the undecided sector of the electorate, and those who voted in the last few days, and whose ballots have not yet been counted, broke in favor of the two-term state attorney general from Bellevue, as a number of political analysts believe might be the case.
Though McKenna is leading Inslee 52 to 48 percent in Pierce County and faring well in Spokane, the state's second largest city, he is trailing Inslee in Snohomish County, long considered a bellwether county.
It would appear that Inslee is benefiting from the coattails provided by President Obama, who won the state by 13 points over Mitt Romney.
Another large batch of statewide votes, including King County, will be released at 4:30 a.p.m. on Wednesday.