There are some similarities in the lives of gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. Both graduated from the University of Washington, worked as attorneys and raised money for their hometown schools. But beyond that, the two men traced very different paths to elected office.

The early lives of Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna share a few similar chapters.

Both of the leading gubernatorial candidates graduated from the University of Washington. And both went on to law school and worked as attorneys, raising money for their hometown schools.

But beyond that, the two men traced very different paths to elected office.

If the race for governor sometimes looks like a contest between the affable quarterback of the football team and the brainiac debate-club president — well, that’s not so far from the truth.

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McKenna, 49, grew up in a military family, bouncing around the nation and the world before settling in Bellevue. A disciplined Eagle Scout, McKenna showed an affinity for politics and government from an early age. He was elected senior-class president in high school and student president at the UW — and hasn’t lost an election since.

Inslee, 61, was into sports, not politics, as a youth growing up in Seattle. He was a small forward on the Ingraham High School basketball team, which went undefeated his senior year. He was also starting quarterback of the football team. Though friends say he’s always shown a knack for leadership, he wasn’t drawn to politics until many years later, as a small-town lawyer in Central Washington.

As part of an occasional series on the lives and records of the gubernatorial candidates, The Seattle Times takes a look today at Inslee’s and McKenna’s early years — before they ran for political office.