OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The last time Washington state had a Republican governor, Rob McKenna was student body president at the University of Washington.
That start of his political career put him on a trajectory that landed him as a popular two-term attorney general and inevitable candidate for the state's highest office. McKenna is currently one of only two statewide-elected Republicans (Secretary of State Sam Reed is the other) in Washington, a state that hasn't voted for a Republican governor since 1980. The closest Republicans got was in 2004, when Dino Rossi came within 133 votes of Gov. Chris Gregoire in an election that saw two recounts and a court challenge.