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Democrat Jay Inslee is ahead in the votes for governor Wednesday, but in order for Republican Rob McKenna to win the election, he must have a strong showing in King County, some of Washington's former candidates say.

Dino Rossi, who ran as the Republican candidate in 2004 and 2008, and former Democratic Governor Mike Lowry (1993-1997), estimated the winner needs at least 40 percent of the vote in traditionally Democratic King County.

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, agreed Lowry.

As of Wednesday, McKenna has an estimated 37 percent of the vote in King County. During the later stages of his campaign, McKenna focused more attention on some of Washington's smaller counties.

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. Inslee announced Wednesday he would launch a gubernatorial transition team.

Those were two excellent candidates, Lowry said, speaking about Inslee and McKenna. The State of Washington should feel good about those candidates.

Rossi added his own personal advice to McKenna and Inslee while the votes are being tallied.

Just spend time with your wife and kids and let the professionals do what they're supposed to do. Just move on. It will all sort out.

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