Repub­li­can Rob McKen­na is final­ly throw­ing in the towel.

After hav­ing spent sev­er­al days main­tain­ing that there was still a viable path to vic­to­ry over Jay Inslee, McKen­na and his cam­paign team have come to the same con­clu­sion that we reached when we assessed the race dur­ing the last few min­utes of Novem­ber 6th: Jay Inslee is going to be Wash­ing­ton’s next governor.

Rob McKen­na’s cam­paign announced in a con­fer­ence call with reporters that McKen­na called Demo­c­rat Jay Inslee a short while ago to con­cede the 2012 guber­na­to­r­i­al race and con­grat­u­late Inslee on his victory.

McKen­na’s staff have updat­ed the cam­paign web­site to promi­nent­ly fea­ture a thank-you video from the can­di­date. The tran­script of this video is as follows:

Friends, today we come to the end of a long journey.

Despite the extra­or­di­nary efforts of our vol­un­teers, donors, staff, and every­one who’s been part of Team McKen­na, it appears we will fall short of vic­to­ry when the last bal­lots are count­ed. After sev­en­teen months of hard work, that is a very dis­ap­point­ing result.

I’ve just placed a call to Con­gress­man Inslee to offer my con­grat­u­la­tions, and to wish him the best as Wash­ing­ton’s next governor.

The new admin­is­tra­tion will face many vex­ing issues — not least, how to ade­quate­ly fund and reform our schools. And I’m hope­ful that all of Wash­ing­ton’s elect­ed lead­ers can work togeth­er to move us forward.

I’m proud of the cam­paign we’ve run, of our top-notch cam­paign team, and of the thou­sands of vol­un­teers who got involved because they saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make our state bet­ter than it is and as good as it can be.

Run­ning for gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton has been a pro­found priv­i­lege, and has taught me much about the peo­ple of this great state. It has been a thor­ough­ly enrich­ing and grat­i­fy­ing expe­ri­ence, even though it ulti­mate­ly has not result­ed in the oppor­tu­ni­ty I sought to serve you as your next governor.

The most grat­i­fy­ing aspect of run­ning has been meet­ing thou­sands of peo­ple in every cor­ner of our state. They don’t all share the same expe­ri­ences, or exact­ly the same views about gov­ern­ment and soci­ety, or about how we can best meet the chal­lenges our state faces, but they are all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans through and through, and they love this state.

My sup­port­ers among them have been the bedrock of my cam­paign through­out this con­test. Togeth­er, we con­tact­ed more vot­ers, raised more mon­ey, received more endorse­ments, and had the broad­est out­reach of any guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign in at least a gen­er­a­tion. That’s some­thing of which we can all be proud.

To those of you who knocked on doors, made hours of phone calls, put up yard signs, held fundrais­ers, and reached out to your friends and fam­i­ly to explain why you sup­port­ed me, thank you, from my the bot­tom of my heart. It has meant so much to me, to Mar­i­lyn, and to our entire fam­i­ly, and it is very hum­bling to all of us that you have invest­ed so much of your own blood, sweat, and tears into this effort. I will nev­er for­get you.

I’d also like to thank all of the coali­tions that came togeth­er to work with me to sup­port my cam­paign and to cre­ate out­reach into our state’s many var­ied com­mu­ni­ties. Groups like Asian-Amer­i­cans for McKen­na, Lati­nos for McKen­na, our vet­er­ans’ coali­tion, Women for McKen­na, and Democ­rats for Rob includ­ed some of my most ener­getic sup­port­ers. Oth­er key sup­port came from hun­dreds of small busi­ness own­ers who expressed their frus­tra­tions about state gov­ern­ment to me and who worked with me for a day when the state will actu­al­ly make it eas­i­er for them to suc­ceed and to grow.

Those of you in the law enforce­ment com­mu­ni­ty have been among my staunchest back­ers, always, and my dear­est friends, and it has been my priv­i­lege as Attor­ney Gen­er­al to assist you in mak­ing our state safer.

And then there are my friends work­ing for edu­ca­tion reform and for a state that will ful­ly fund our schools. You’ll also always have my grat­i­tude. Groups like Stand for Chil­dren and the Pub­lic School Employ­ees of Wash­ing­ton are work­ing hard every day to make our schools, our edu­ca­tion sys­tem bet­ter. I applaud you for your work, and I thank you for your sup­port as well.

I also owe a deep debt of grat­i­tude to my fam­i­ly for their incred­i­ble love and sup­port over the years. Being a pub­lic offi­cial and run­ning for office — espe­cial­ly statewide — are not nine-to-five jobs. They require a lot of long days and week­ends on the road — but my fam­i­ly, espe­cial­ly my wife Mar­i­lyn and our four amaz­ing chil­dren, nev­er wavered and are always there for me and for each oth­er. I love you all very, very much.

As the year draws to a close, my ser­vice as Attor­ney Gen­er­al is also wind­ing down. What an incred­i­ble eight years it has been, both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and per­son­al­ly. I will always cher­ish the friend­ships I have made in my office, and through­out the attor­ney gen­er­al com­mu­ni­ty nation­wide, as well as our achieve­ments togeth­er on behalf of the best clients a lawyer could hope for: the Amer­i­can peo­ple themsleves.

My vision eight years ago was to lead the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office to become the best pub­lic law office in Amer­i­ca, and we have achieved that goal. To my col­leagues there, please, con­tin­ue work­ing hard for Wash­ing­ton’s peo­ple, and please con­tin­ue being the best at what you do. Our office’s lead­er­ship may be chang­ing, but being the best will always begin with each of you.

Many of you may be curi­ous about what I’ll do next, and right now, that’s up in the air. But pub­lic ser­vice is a part of my DNA, as you know from the sto­ries I’ve told about my par­ents. So you can be sure that I will con­tin­ue to stay involved in my com­mu­ni­ty, for exam­ple, by work­ing for edu­ca­tion reform, in Rotary, through the Boy Scouts, and work­ing in every way I can to cre­ate a bet­ter future for our young people.

Thanks again to all of you watch­ing this for all you have done for my fam­i­ly, my cam­paign, and me, and for the lead­er­ship you’ve shown through­out this amaz­ing jour­ney. May God con­tin­ue to bless Amer­i­ca, the State of Wash­ing­ton, and each of you.

Thank you very much.

Though the Wash­ing­ton State press corps have expressed an inter­est in doing a post­morterm with McKen­na, the can­di­date has no plans to speak with reporters, accord­ing to his cam­paign man­ag­er Randy Pepple.

McKen­na’s con­ces­sion has no legal sig­nif­i­cance, but it does rep­re­sent the con­tin­u­a­tion of an impor­tant tra­di­tion in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics: acknowl­edg­ing the win­ner of a pop­u­lar elec­tion and accept­ing defeat with grace.

In about two months, Jay Inslee will be sworn in as Wash­ing­ton’s twen­ty-third gov­er­nor. He is the fourth Demo­c­rat to be con­sec­u­tive­ly elect­ed to the state’s high­est office (his pre­de­ces­sors were Booth Gard­ner, Mike Lowry, Gary Locke, and Chris Gre­goire). Democ­rats have con­trolled the gov­er­nor’s man­sion for twen­ty-eight years, and will now hold it for at least anoth­er four.

Inslee held a news con­fer­ence Fri­day evening at his cam­paign head­quar­ters on Rainier Avenue in Seat­tle to cel­e­brate with his team and pledge to serve one hun­dred per­cent of the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton State.

Dwight Pelz, the enig­mat­ic chair­man of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, was quick to react to McKen­na’s concession.

“I could­n’t be more excit­ed that, after run­ning a fan­tas­tic cam­paign and pro­vid­ing such a strong vision for our state, Jay Inslee is going to be our next gov­er­nor. Wash­ing­ton now has a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to be a leader in the 21st Cen­tu­ry econ­o­my, improve our edu­ca­tion sys­tem, and build on the state’s incred­i­ble resources to move for­ward,” Pelz said in a statement.

“There is much work to do, but Jay Inslee is the right leader for Wash­ing­ton. Rob McKen­na ran a great cam­paign, and proved to be a very strong can­di­date in yet anoth­er tough con­test. But we’ve always thought Jay had the best vision for our state, and the vot­ers agreed.”

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to Jay and the great team that helped in this effort.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

3 replies on “Rob McKenna concedes gubernatorial race; congratulates Governor-elect Jay Inslee”

  1. enig­mat­ic: “Dif­fi­cult to inter­pret or under­stand; mysterious.”
    My impres­sion of Dwight Pelz is quite the oppo­site although I would be inter­est­ed to hear exam­ples of ‘mys­te­ri­ous’ Dwight.

  2. Just like Oba­ma has a hos­tile con­gress, Jay Inslee will have to deal with the 23 required vote by the Leg­is­la­ture to raise revenue.
    Still a good vic­to­ry and a sur­prise at that. I was sur­prised by Brad Owens vic­to­ry as well, beat­ing a chal­lenger who had good stand­ing amongst Democrats.

Comments are closed.