Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his climate change-focused 2020 presidential bid, planning to announce Thursday that he’ll seek a third term as governor.
Inslee announced his decision Wednesday night on MSNBC, saying that it’s become clear he won’t win. Inslee had yet to reach 2% in any poll.
While Inslee qualified for this summer’s first two presidential debates, Inslee was struggling to gain momentum in the crowded Democratic field. He also was short of the needs to appear at two important stages next month: the third DNC debate in Houston and a CNN town hall focused on climate change, Inslee’s key issue.
Inslee made fighting climate change the central theme of his presidential campaign.
“I believe we’re going to have a candidate to fight this battle,” he said on MSNBC. “I’m inspired by the people I’ve met across the country. I’m not going to carry the ball but we’re going to make sure somebody is.”
The Governor’s announcement came hours after he released his six climate change policy proposals and hours after he was scheduled to speak at an Iowa Labor Federation presidential forum. Inslee canceled his appearance Wednesday morning, blaming flight cancels, according to Fox News.
Two people close to Inslee told The Associated Press that Inslee planned to make the announcement in an email to supporters.
State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said that he thinks Inslee could be vulnerable in a reelection bid.
“Getting elected to a third term is a tough task,” he said. “And doing so on the heels of a failed presidential campaign where you sent a message to voters that you want a different job, that doesn’t sit very well.”
A few Republicans have already announced plans to run for governor, including Phil Fortunato, a state senator, and Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, in eastern Washington.
Inslee, 68, became the third Democrat to stop his presidential bid after California’s US Rep. Eric Swalwell pulled out of the primary last month, and Colorado’s former Gov. John Hickenlooper last week.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press.