Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington and a 2020 Democratic hopeful, has dropped out of the presidential race.
Inslee, who launched his campaign in March with a singular focus on fighting climate change, announced he was suspending his campaign during an appearance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday.
Inslee, 68, had struggled to gain traction in the sprawling Democratic presidential field and was unlikely to qualify for the next month’s debate in Houston, Texas.
Inslee told MSNBC it had “become clear” he would not be the Democratic party’s nominee and was thus withdrawing his candidacy, following in the footsteps of the California representative Eric Swalwell and the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
“It’s become clear that I’m not going to be carrying the ball,” Inslee said. “I’m not going to be the president, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race.”
Inslee said he would make an announcement on Thursday about “the future of his political career”, including whether he would seek re-election as the governor of Washington state.
Inslee had dubbed climate change “the most urgent challenge of our time” and largely ran to elevate the issue to the center of the political discourse.
Although he appeared in the first two Democratic primary debates, Inslee fell short of the requirements for the third debate in September, as well as a CNN town hall dedicated to climate change – despite it being his signature issue.
“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,” Inslee said Wednesday.
“I believe we are going to have a candidate to fight this battle.”