The Associated Press
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
Campaign manager Randy Pepple told reporters tonight that McKenna called Democrat Jay Inslee to congratulate him. Inslee had steadily held a 51 percent advantage in the race as ballots were counted this week.
The decision brings to end one of the most watched, most expensive gubernatorial races in the country. The two candidates and outside political groups raised and spent some $40 million in the race.
McKenna had portrayed himself as a moderate with a plan to increase funding for education. Inslee had touted his plans to spur job growth by investing in clean energy and other specific sectors.
Both candidates vowed to not raise taxes. Those policies will be put to the test in January, when lawmakers begin negotiations over how to deal with a budget shortfall and the need for more education funding.