OLYMPIA, Wash. -

Once viewed as an underdog in Washington's race for governor, Jay Inslee has emerged competitive thanks to an enviable mix of biographical contrasts.

He's a former high school football quarterback with a law degree. He brings hardhat grit while droning on about alternative energy technology. And he's a rare politician who has represented both sides of a state that's divided politically and economically.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Inslee said the state's Democrats have struggled in eastern Washington because they often don't have a good grasp of the issues there.

He focuses on the issue of green energy and says it's something that can benefit residents across the state.