Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) is retiring
Former Rep. Jay Inslee (D) vs. Rob McKenna (R)
Washington is headed for its third competitive gubernatorial election in a row. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire barely defeated Republican Dino Rossi in 2004 after a prolonged and tumultuous vote-counting and recount process that lasted 51 days.
Their 2008 rematch remained close throughout much of the campaign, but Gregoire ended up winning with 53%. The race to replace her is shaping up to be another nail-biter. The Democratic nominee is Jay Inslee, the former congressman who resigned his seat in March to focus on the gubernatorial race. Inslee received early criticism for that decision, as it leaves his district without a representative until after the election.
The Republican nominee is Rob McKenna, the two-term state attorney general from King County, the state's most populous county. Inslee benefits from the state's overall Democratic bent. President Obama is expected to carry the state easily and boost Democratic turnout. Also, Republicans have not won a gubernatorial race here since 1980.
Nonetheless, McKenna has made the race competitive. He has won statewide before, whereas Inslee has only won on the district level. McKenna also has roots in heavily Democratic King County, where he once served on the county council.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vs. Bill Maloney (R)
Democratic incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin defeated Republican businessman Bill Maloney in a rematch to win a four-year term as West Virginia's governor, CNN has projected.
Tomblin took office in late 2010 after his Democratic predecessor Joe Manchin resigned to take over the late Robert Byrd's U.S. Senate seat.
Tomblin won a special election last year against Maloney, 50% to 47%, to complete the rest of Manchin's term. The major difference this time was that 2012 was a presidential election year and the shadow of President Obama loomed larger than it did in 2011.