Time is running out pretty quickly on Republican Rob McKenna’s bid for Washington governor, and this evening’s ballot-counting could seal the deal for Democrat Jay Inslee, who leads by 54,334 votes this morning with perhaps 700,000 more to count. In fact, state Democrats have calculated McKenna’s odds of winning at a shrunken 11 percent, or one in nine – according to this one-page memo.
That’s slim to be sure, but better than none. And as Randy Pepple, campaign manager for McKenna said yesterday, Republicans still think they can win and actually sound confident about it. And that’s even without come-from-behind-specialist Eli Manning of the New York Giants in as their ballot quarterback in the waning minutes of this game.
See Pepple and his white-board analysis here.
Notably, Pepple doesn’t actually say how many votes he thinks McKenna can get from specific counties, and last night in response to Times reporter Jim Brunner’s question, Pepple declined to release copies of internal polling that purport to show late-deciding voters were favoring McKenna by a two-to-one margin.
Pepple cites that polling, augmenting it with references to other public polling that showed Inslee leading in early voters, to argue that late voters are going to throw the Hail Mary touchdown McKenna needs.
As we reported today, both campaigns say they are confident of victory, and Gov. Chris Gregoire is getting ready for a transition or hand-off to whoever emerges with the most votes.
An interesting point in the Democrats’ favor: more than half of remaining ballots are in King, Thurston, Snohomish and Whatcom counties, where the Democrat is winning with more than 58 percent of the vote, the analysis shows. The Dems’ number crunchers say McKenna’s top four counties – Benton, Clark, Spokane and Yakima – make up just 12 percent of the remaining ballots and are delivering just over 57 percent for the Republican.
“Thus following the historic trend of Democratic gains beyond Election Day, the Inslee advantage will continue to increase as the remaining ballots are counted,” the Dems’ memo says.
As the Seattle Seahawks showed the Green Bay Packers earlier this year (and I don’t mean to suggest McKenna needs an officiating error to win), it’s not over until the game is really over.
But there just aren’t many ticks left on the clock.