Democratic Gov.-elect Jay Inslee can thank overwhelming support in Seattle for his victory over Republican Rob McKenna in the 2012 gubernatorial race.
A Seattle Times analysis of precinct vote returns shows Inslee carried Seattle by 78.4 to 21.4 percent over McKenna — his strongest showing of any city in King and Snohomish counties. (See map below – click for larger image.)
Inslee beat McKenna statewide 51.5 to 48.5 percent — a margin of about 95,000 votes. But inside Seattle, Inslee beat McKenna by close to 195,000 votes.
In other words, if Seattle didn’t exist, McKenna theoretically would have won the state by 100,000 votes. But Seattle does exist (much to the annoyance of Republicans) and remains the key to Democratic control of the state’s highest political offices.
Outside Seattle, Inslee also drew strong support in some close-in suburbs, including Shoreline, Renton, Tukwila and Burien.
McKenna, the two-term attorney general, ran up his highest King County percentages in wealthy enclaves like Clyde Hill, Medina and Hunts Point, as well as some Southeast King County cities, including Black Diamond and Enumclaw.
To have a shot at overcoming his Seattle deficit, McKenna needed to win swing areas such as Bellevue, Federal Way, Woodinville and Issaquah.
In 2004, Republican Dino Rossi won those cities on the way to a 40 percent total in King County, and a famous near-win in the gubernatorial race.
But McKenna narrowly lost all those cities. He even fell short in his hometown of Bellevue, garnering about 48 percent of the vote.
(One more detail: McKenna also did slightly worse in Seattle than Rossi did in 2004. Rossi that year nabbed 23.8 percent of the city vote, a couple points above McKenna’s 21.4 mark this year.)