THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 , 2019. THE WASHINGTON POST EZ M2 A
BY ELI ROSENBERG
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee,
who entered the 2020 contest by
making the case that climate
change is the central issue of our
time, dropped out of the Demo-
cratic presidential race on
Inslee announced on MSNBC’s
“The Rachel Maddow Show” that
he was dropping out. He had
argued when he declared his can-
didacy in March that addressing
climate change — “the most ur-
gent challenge of our time” —
should be a top priority.
The two-term governor re-
leased a plan that called for a new
Justice Department office to pros-
ecute environmental laws and
vowed to put at least 40 percent of
federal investments in clean en-
ergy in communities dispropor-
tionately affected by income in-
equality, pollution and other
But he struggled to gain name
recognition and wide support
among his more nationally fa-
mous peers in the contest, with
his poll numbers hovering
around 1 percent or lower. An
aggregate of polls by the site
RealClearPolitics showed Inslee
with a national average of
“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 told Maddow.
In a letter to supporters, Inslee
said he was not meeting the poll-
ing threshold set by the Demo-
cratic National Committee to
quality for debates in the fall,
despite getting 130,000 campaign
“As a result, I don’t believe we
can compete for the attention and
exposure needed to have a rea-
sonable shot at the nomination,”
Still, he said he believed his
campaign had been a success by
prompting other candidates to
take the issue of climate change
“In recent presidential cycles,
climate change got little attention
from the candidates, the DNC, or
the media,” he wrote supporters.
“We vowed to change that in a big
way and succeeded. Many of the
campaigns started with little at-
tention to climate, but since our
campaign began, we’ve seen al-
most 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 cli-
mate forums in September.”
Inslee told Maddow that he felt
hemmed in by the design of the
televised debates, where candi-
dates were given short amounts
of time to answer on complex
subjects such as climate change.
He declined to make an early
endorsement for any of the candi-
dates but said he would support
the eventual Democratic nomi-
“I think we’re going to be just
fine, ultimately,” he said. “We just
need to get to the business of
unifying the party. I believe we
will do that.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.),
another Democratic candidate,
on Wednesday tweeted a note of
appreciation to Inslee.
“Climate change is real and it’s
a crisis — and I will keep fighting
alongside you to take bold action
before it is too late,” she wrote.
Fellow candidate Sen. Bernie
Sanders (I-Vt.) echoed that senti-
ment. “Congratulations to @Jay-
Inslee on his impactful campaign
to bring the climate crisis to the
forefront of the national conver-
sation,” Sanders tweeted Wednes-
day night. “There is no more
important issue facing humanity.
Together we will work to pass a
Green New Deal and create mil-
lions of jobs.”
Greenpeace USA also praised
Inslee for making climate change
the focus of his campaign. “Inslee
raised the bar for what’s expected
of the next president on climate.
Now, it’s up to every one of the
remaining candidates to pick up
where he left off,” the environ-
mental group said in a tweet.
Inslee has worked to address
climate change in Washington
state but met plenty of resistance.
A measure that aimed to reduce
emissions by taxing carbon was
defeated by Republicans in the
legislature, and an executive or-
der outlining steps to reduce car-
bon pollution was blocked by a
The Associated Press, citing
people close to Inslee, reported
that he is likely to seek a third
term as governor.
Democrat Jay Inslee withdraws from 2020 race
put climate change at
heart of presidential bid
JOHN LOCHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, speaking in Iowa earlier this month,
announced on MSNBC that he was ending his White House bid.
“I think we’re going to
be just fine, ultimately.
We just need to get to
the business of unifying
the party. I believe we
will do that.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
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