At a news conference in Olympia Monday, Gov. Chris Gregoire officially announced she will not seek a third term in office.
"The worst thing I can think of for the people of Washington is for me to be preoccupied with a campaign right now. I need to set my sights on the next 18 months and guarantee that we are out of this recession," said Gregoire.
Republican State Attorney General Rob McKenna officially announced his candidacy and has been critical of state spending during Gregoire's term.
"They have reduced the priority they place on higher and public education," he said. "They have dramatically increased spending on state employees, both in the number and how much is spent on every state employee."
Political Analyst C.R. Douglas said McKenna has a good chance at winning the election.
"Rob McKenna is the Republicans' best hope for retaking this office," he said. "They haven’t been able to win for over 30 years. He’s a popular Attorney General, he’s been elected twice statewide."
Although he hasn't officially made an announcement, U.S. Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee released a statement Monday indicating that he may be considering a run for Washington state governor.
"I appreciate the Governor's service during these difficult economic times," Rep. Inslee wrote in the statement. "Today is her day. I will make my intentions in the Governor's race known shortly."
At an event last week, he was confident of his chances.
"When I get in a race it’s with the intention to win," he said. "If I get into it, that will be my intention."
"I hope Jay Inslee decides to run for governor," Washington Democratic Party representative Dwight Pelz said. "He’s a dynamic and progressive democrat. He has served the needs of Washington state and he understands the pressure that Washington families are under."
Although state Senate Democratic leader Lisa Brown, State Auditor Brian Sontagg and State Treasurer James McIntyre have expressed interest in running, analysts don't think they can compete.
"Jay Inslee is clearly in first position among Democrats for office," Douglas said. "He’s run once before in 1996. He wants it badly. He’s forged a moderate record as a congressman and is a strong environmentalist. He’s the kind of Democrat who does well in Washington state."
As for what's next for Gregoire, she has said she would like to take a break and spend time with her family, but is not retiring.
Douglas said he expects she could make a move for Washington D.C. as Solicitor General if President Obama is elected to a second term.