OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Democrat Jay Inslee says it's time to get to work.
Inslee secured victory in Washington's close race for governor Friday, vowing to focus his administration on jump-starting the state's economy. He thanked opponent Rob McKenna for what he described as a gracious conversation Friday night in which the Republican conceded the race.
Inslee's campaign was built largely around his plans to spur job growth by investing in clean energy and other specific sectors.
Both candidates vowed to not raise taxes. Those policies will be put to the test in January, when lawmakers begin negotiations over how to deal with a budget shortfall and the need for more education funding. Inslee has already started the process of forming a team that will help him transition to office.
The Seattle Times first reported McKenna's plans to concede.
McKenna closed the margin with Democrat Jay Inslee a bit on Friday as counties continued to report updated ballot totals. But with fewer ballots left to be counted statewide, the chances of McKenna gaining the 42,000 or so votes needed to overtake his Democratic opponent continues to wane.
McKenna's campaign pointed to polls showing that late-deciding voters sided more heavily with him. After the election night vote tallies were announced, McKenna trailed Inslee by 50,209 votes. Late Wednesday, Inslee's lead grew to 53,860 votes, and to 54,322 by late Thursday.
As of late Friday afternoon, that lead was down to around 42,000 votes, showing that there were indeed a great many of McKenna votes left to be counted.
But the Inslee campaign had said its own analysis of the remaining pool of ballots to be counted gave Inslee a 95 percent chance of winning. And the gains McKenna made on Friday could be erased when King County reports its own count later in the evening.
By the end of the day Friday, KING 5 expects that there will be 500,000 to 600,000 ballots left to count statewide, with an estimated 250,000 coming from heavily Democratic King County.
Both campaigns had reached out to voters whose ballots were challenged by county elections officials, mostly in cases where the signature didn't match the one on file. Voters can take steps to reverse the challenge and ensure that their vote is counted. At least 20,000 votes statewide fall into this category.
The Washington Secretary of State's Office has information online about how voters can tell if their ballot has been counted.