The Slatest

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Drops Out of Democratic Race for President

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he is dropping out of the Democratic race for president after his candidacy that put climate change as its No. 1 priority failed to gain support, hovering at or below 1 percent in national polls. “It’s become clear that I’m not going to be carrying the ball, I’m not going to be the president, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race,” he said Wednesday night on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

Inslee joined the crowded Democratic race in March, despite being a virtual unknown on the national political scene, aiming to make climate change a pressing political issue, dubbing it the “the most urgent challenge of our time.” Last month, the two-term governor issued a comprehensive climate change plan that aimed at increased enforcement of environmental regulations as well as expanded investment in energy alternatives and the communities most affected by the changing climate.

Inslee follows former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper offstage as the threshold for participating in the debates got higher after the first two contests. The debate stage is expected to get less crowded because now, in addition to having received donations from at least 130,000 donors, candidates must have gotten at least 2 percent in four nationwide or early-state polls in the past month. “As a result, I don’t believe we can compete for the attention and exposure needed to have a reasonable shot at the nomination,” Inslee wrote to supporters about the reality of not being on the debate stage going forward. Inslee is now expected to run for a third term as governor in Washington.

“Many of the campaigns started with little attention to climate, but since our campaign began, we’ve seen almost every serious candidate put out a climate plan; we’ve seen climate come up in both debates; and we now have two networks hosting nationally-televised climate forums in September,” Inslee said in a letter to supporters. “Most importantly, we have introduced a detailed and comprehensive policy blueprint for bold climate action and transformation to a clean energy economy. We will fight to ensure this gold standard of climate action is adopted and executed by our party and our next president.”