Governor-elect Jay Inslee declared victory at his Seattle campaign headquarters Friday night.
In a short news conference before three dozen screaming staffers, the Democratic former congressman pledged to represent all state residents.
“It is a huge honor and a great delight to be able to say that I’ll be working for the next four years as the governor of the Evergreen State, the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “We had a good discussion about the issues, and now it’s time for all of us to unite across the state of Washington.”
Inslee congratulated his opponent, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna on a good campaign. He said he planned to consult McKenna during the transition to the governor’s mansion, which Inslee had already started planning.
McKenna had called Inslee to concede about an hour before the 6:50 p.m. news conference.
“We’ve got to unite this state,” Inslee said. “We’ve got some real challenges going forward and we’re going to all have to pull together. I represent 100 percent of the people of the state of Washington as of tonight.”
Inslee then embraced his staffers, thanking and hugging many of them. His wife, Trudi, banged on the campaign’s trademark blue-and-white drum, emblazoned with the word “Jay.”
About the same time, McKenna released a video on his campaign Facebook page, talking about his disappointment in the outcome, the thrill of running and meeting so many people, thanking his supporters and talking about challenges facing the next governor, including: “The new administration will face many vexing issues, not least of which is how to adequately fund and reform our schools.” Here’s the link to the McKenna page and video.