OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - This has been the year of big names and big money for Washington's election.
A record $157 million has poured into state-level races, with six and seven-figure chunks coming from the likes of Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, actor Brad Pitt, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, travel guru Rick Steves and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos.
The result has been a steady stream of television advertising, trying to sway voters who are also paying attention to a close presidential race nationally. Those voters will finally have their say when ballots start getting counted Tuesday.
At the top of the state ballot, Washington residents will decide who will replace departing Gov. Chris Gregoire. Republican Rob McKenna is seeking to secure the first GOP victory in the race since 1980, while Democrat Jay Inslee is looking to make the transition from Congress back to a governor's seat he first sought in 1996.