I have to admit that I was a bit surprised to learn that Rob McKenna had conceded the governor's race late yesterday afternoon, before many counties—including populous King—had reported their daily tally. Just one day before, McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple had released a video (after the jump) explaining the campaign's mathematical path to victory . "[McKenna] asked me to talk to you today about some of the numbers behind the confidence he expressed yesterday," Pepple tells the camera, while standing in front of a white board with a bunch of numbers scribbled on it.
Pepple had argued that internal polling showed that late voters had broken hard for McKenna, and that we would start to see that trend accelerate sharply in Friday's ballot drop. But by mid-afternoon it was clear that this just wasn't happening. While some counties continued to trend modestly toward McKenna in yesterday's count, others were moving in Jay Inslee's direction. Indeed, of the 33 counties that reported results yesterday, only 16 had splits more favorable to McKenna than the Tuesday night results or the running average.
With about 85 percent of the ballots counted, Inslee's 51-49 margin is about half a point smaller than on election night, but his numerical lead has grown by more than 5,000 votes to 55,682. Even the math-challenged McKenna camp could see that there was no realistic way to make up that gap.
For similar reasons, I would expect Democrat Kathleen Drew to concede the Secretary of State's race* to Republican Kim Wyman. What was a 14,000 vote gap on election night has steadily widened to a 42,000 vote Wyman lead. I wouldn't be surprised to see this modest Republican trend reverse itself in subsequent ballot counts, but there just aren't enough ballots left to make a difference. Wyman has won.
Finally, in the only other allegedly undecided race, the billionaire-backed I-1240 charter schools initiative, the gap continues to narrow, but not nearly fast enough. No matter how much I want I-1240 to fail, I have to put my faith in the data, and the data tells that I-1240 has won.
So there you have it. There are still a couple legislative races that are legitimately too close to call, but at the statewide level, it's all over but the final margin.
* UPDATE: Shortly after I posted, Drew announced that she had conceded:
"Today, I called Kim Wyman to congratulate her on a hard fought victory and to concede the race. I know that she will carry forward Washington's tradition of fair and impartial elections, and I am optimistic that she will work on measures to remove barriers and increase voter participation."