Jay Inslee running for third term as Washington governor after leaving 2020 White House race

Key Points
  • Jay Inslee launches a bid for third term as Washington governor after dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.
  • Inslee made combating climate change the signature issue in his failed bid for the Democratic nomination.
Jay Inslee, governor of Washington and 2020 presidential candidate, pauses while speaking during an Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, June 9, 2019.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jay Inslee on Thursday launched his bid for a third term as Washington governor after he dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

"We have provided the nation a road map for innovation, economic growth, and progressive action. And we're not done yet," Inslee said in his announcement. "I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald Trump and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington state's role as a progressive beacon for the nation."

Inslee revealed he was dropping out of the presidential race Wednesday night on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show." He had announced his candidacy for the White House in March.

Inslee made climate change his main issue on the campaign trail and said Thursday that he would continue to press the matter as he runs for reelection.

"Our efforts to protect Washington's clean air and water, invest in people's economic security, and stand up for the values of inclusivity and diversity have created thousands of clean energy jobs and made Washington state 'the epicenter of resistance to Trump's agenda,'" he said.

He has adopted one of the greenest agendas in the country in his home state, signing a package of bills in May 2019 that would rid Washington of its reliance on fossil fuel-generated power by 2045.

He is a co-founder of U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of governors committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

On the campaign trail, he called for "zero emission" electricity generation across the U.S. by 2035 and for the federal government to invest $3 trillion over a decade to upgrade buildings to create "climate-smart infrastructure." He also pledged to decline campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

In June, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who introduced the Green New Deal resolution in the House, called Inslee's climate change plan the "gold standard."

But ultimately the Washington governor failed to gain traction among voters.

He stood at just 1% support in recent polls and raised just over $3 million for the presidential campaign in the second quarter, leaving him well below the top contenders.