According to inside sources, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will announce his campaign for governor Wednesday evening.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the McKenna campaign released a statement that a “major announcement” would be made at an event scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Sammamish High School.

An announcement of candidacy by McKenna would be the first in the 2012 Washington gubernatorial race. Two-term incumbent Democrat Gov. Christine Gregoire has yet to reveal her intentions, and would-be gubernatorial hopeful Congressman Jay Inslee is holding back on his announcing his plans until Gregoire’s are fully known.

Many feel that McKenna represents the Republican’s best opportunity to retake the governor’s office since it was lost to the Democrats in 1985; his campaign may be taking early action to ensure that those hopes are not left unfulfilled.

An early declaration by McKenna could also help obtain an early advantage in the race to raise campaign funds, but also to secure a head-start in the effort to recruit activists and take the lead on articulating why Republican leadership from the state chief executive is preferable.

The late entry into the 2010 U.S. Senate race by Republican challenger Dino Rossi has been speculated by some to have allowed second-tier candidates to lay claim to grass roots networks and shape the form of attacks against Sen. Patty Murray (D).