Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race, will seek third term as governor

  • Aug 22, 2019
  • Bellingham Herald

Gov. Jay Inslee has ended his presidential campaign after failing to get to two percent in the polls.

Inslee made the announcement Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

The governor said it’s “become clear that I’m not going to be the President, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race.”

The withdrawal came after Inslee failed to qualify for a Sept. 4 CNN town hall on the issue he ran on: climate change.

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It also appeared certain he would not make the cut for the third Democratic National Committee debate hosted by ABC on Sept. 12-13.

To qualify, candidates had to receive donations form at least 130,000 individual donors from several states and reach 2 percent in at least four DNC-approved polls.

Inslee passed the fundraising hurdle, but had not reached two percent in the polls as an Aug. 28 deadline loomed.

The next question: Will Inslee run for a third four-year term as governor?

The Associated Press reported Wednesday night, citing two sources close to the governor, that he intends to seek re-election.

In a written statement Wednesday night, Inslee said: “As we turn to the future, I will have more to say about what comes next for me in the days ahead. I can assure you that I will continue to lead, to demand bold action, and to do everything in my power to ensure the fight to defeat climate change stays at the top of the national agenda.”

If Inslee had chose not to run for a third term, he would have set off a chain-reaction, in which Attorney General Bob Ferguson or Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz could have sought the Democratic nomination for governor.

And there was a list of Democrats who had talked about running for attorney general and public lands commissioner.

Inslee kicked off his presidential campaign on March 1 at a Seattle-based firm that installs solar panels.

“We are now involved in one of history’s greatest endeavors: save those who are living on this little blue planet from the dangers and massive threat of climate change. So early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize,” Inslee told about 200 longtime supporters, friends and family members.

From the start, he was considered a long-shot candidate with low name recognition in a crowded field.

His departure from the race after former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California dropped out.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview with Rachel Maddow:

“We started saying that climate change had to be the number one job in the United States. I felt very good saying that the first days of my campaign. I feel very good saying that now. And the reason is this has become more urgent; a billion tons of ice melted in Greenland the other day.

“But we also have had so many people I’ve met who were inspiring, who want us to act, who have helped me; we had 130,000 people help me in this campaign. But it’s become clear that I’m not going to be carrying the ball. I’m not going to be President, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race. But I have to tell you. I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball. I believe we are going to have a candidate to fight this battle.”

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