Jay Inslee appeared to declare victory in a short speech Tuesday night at The Westin Seattle – long before anyone else had.
“They are still counting the ballots in the governor’s race,” he said, “but I believe this: I believe tonight our state has taken another step forward and we have elected a forward-looking governor.”
Inslee held a promising lead over Republican Rob McKenna and appeared to have the inside track to keep the governorship in Democratic hands. But McKenna was not yet ready to concede anything.
Inslee, who took the stage at about 10:40 p.m., just as President Obama began his presidential victory speech in Chicago, had to contend with a crowd that kept yelling that they wanted to hear the president. Inslee kept his remarks brief.
Speaking in front of a couple dozen volunteers holding blue Inslee signs and addressing hundreds more supporters, the candidate congratulated Obama, re-elected U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, and other candidates. He also thanked his wife, Trudi.
“Let’s go do some work,” he concluded. “Let’s go lead the state.”