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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state's race for governor hung on late ballots Wednesday, with election officials estimating hundreds of thousands of votes were left to count.

Democrat Jay Inslee held a promising lead of 51 percent, to Republican Rob McKenna's 49 percent, Wednesday afternoon. McKenna was struggling in King County, which held many of the votes still left to count.

Inslee said Wednesday that he was already forming a transition team to prepare for becoming Washington's next governor.

Still, McKenna remained optimistic he could become the first GOP governor in about three decades, telling supporters they would have to wait a few more days as mail ballots continued to arrive at county offices.

This year, it will be worth the wait, McKenna said Tuesday night.

Latest: Election results

Republican Rob McKenna is the Attorney General of Washington and graduate of the University of Washington. A statement on McKenna s website said, he will take [Washington] in a new direction, promoting excellence in public schools, helping innovative businesses create jobs and reforming state government.

Democrat Jay Inslee was the United States Representative for Washington s 1st district until March of 2012 when he resigned to run for governor. Inslee is also a graduate of the University of Washington. Inslee said his key mission is to create a stronger and growing economy for Washington. He said he also wants to make Wash. a hub of clean energy and create more innovative schools.

McKenna raised a total of about $13.4 million throughout the election cycle, ahead of Inslee's $11.7 million. Outside groups spent more money on negative campaigning against McKenna than Inslee by a margin of $8.2 million to $7.6 million.

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