Gov. Jay Inslee, right, speaks with David Postman, his chief of staff, before talking with reporters about his plans to run for a third term as governor Thursday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Gov. Jay Inslee, right, speaks with David Postman, his chief of staff, before talking with reporters about his plans to run for a third term as governor Thursday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Inslee to make bid for third term

Governor drops presidential bid

By Rachel La Corte

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee, who has ended his climate change-focused 2020 presidential bid, announced Thursday that he’ll seek a third term as governor.

Inslee sent the email detailing his plans hours before he was to appear at a news conference at Planned Parenthood in Seattle regarding the Title X family planning program. He wrote that Washington state “shows the economic power of pro- gressive action.”

“We have provided the nation a road map for innovation, economic growth, and progressive action,” he wrote. “And we’re not done yet.”

Inslee, who made fighting climate change the central theme of his presidential campaign, announced Wednesday night that he was ending his campaign after nearly six months.

Rep. Steve Tharinger, a Port Townsend Democrat, said he appreciated the stance that Inslee took during his presidential campaign to bring attention to climate change and how he represented the state.

“I think Jay did a nice job promoting the progressive things Washington is doing,” said Tharinger, who represents the 24th legislative district, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.

Success expected

Tharinger expects Inslee to have a successful campaign for a third term as governor.

“He’s a very strong incumbent,” Tharinger said, “so he will continue to do the work as governor that he has been able to do his last couple terms.”

Rep. Mike Chapman, a Port Angeles Democrat also representing the 24th District, was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon as was District 24 Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, a Sequim Democrat, who was on the job as a lieutenant with Clallam County Fire District 3.

In March, Chapman had praised Inslee’s decision to run for president, saying he didn’t see any “down side.”

Van De Wege in March had said that Inslee’s candidacy would be good for the state, but that the presidential campaign could slow legislative work.

Inslee said that he was confident that Democrats would select a nominee who would champion climate change issues but that it had become clear that he wouldn’t be the person selected. Inslee said he was not endorsing anyone but would support whoever is the nominee.

“I believe we’re going to have a candidate to fight this battle,” he said on MSNBC. “I’m inspired by the people I’ve met across the country. I’m not going to carry the ball but we’re going to make sure somebody is.”

While the filing deadline for the state’s 2020 elections isn’t until next May, three Democrats had already signalled they would run for governor if Inslee didn’t: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine. The political dominos continued with Democratic candidates lining up to run for attorney general and lands commissioner if Ferguson and Franz end up not seeking reelection to their posts.

Franz said Wednesday night that she’s not disappointed that she won’t be entering the governor’s race, saying that she loved her current job and has “a lot of work to do.”

State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said that he thinks Inslee could be vulnerable in a reelection bid.

“Getting elected to a third term is a tough task,” he said. “And doing so on the heels of a failed presidential campaign where you sent a message to voters that you want a different job, that doesn’t sit very well.”

A few Republicans have already announced plans to run for governor, including Phil Fortunato, a state senator, and Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, in eastern Washington. A Republican has not occupied the governor’s office in more than three decades.

Governors in Washington state aren’t subject to term limits, though most haven’t served more than two terms. The last three-term governor in Washington was Republican Gov. Dan Evans, who served from 1965 until 1977.

Inslee, 68, became the third Democrat to end his presidential bid after U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California pulled out of the primary last month, followed by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week.

While Inslee had qualified for the first two presidential debates this summer, he struggled to gain traction in the crowded Democratic field and was falling short of the requirements needed to appear on two high-profile stages next month: the third DNC debate in Houston and a CNN town hall focused on climate change, Inslee’s key issue.

He had recently hit one of the markers — 130,000 unique donors. But he had yet to reach 2 percent in any poll and would have needed to hit that level of support in four qualifying polls.

Inslee is a former congressman and served as Democratic Governors Association chairman in 2018, when the party flipped seven Republican-held gubernatorial seats. He kicked off his campaign in March in Seattle, standing in front of a blue-and-green campaign logo with an arc of the Earth, declaring climate change the nation’s most pressing issue.

Inslee was a champion for the clean energy industry in Congress and wrote a book on the topic. And he’s pushed for state policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. On the day he announced his presidential bid, the state Senate passed a key piece of his legislative climate agenda, a measure that seeks to eliminate fossil fuels like natural gas and coal from the state’s electricity supply by 2045. The measure was later passed by the House and signed by Inslee in May.

In addition to pushing for a dedicated debate on climate change,

Inslee’s campaign has been rolling out climate proposals, including calling for the nation’s entire electrical grid and all new vehicles and buildings to be carbon pollution free by 2030.

He’s also proposed a clean break between the federal government and the fossil fuel industry, ending tax breaks for oil companies and banning all drilling and extraction on federal lands and beneath federal waters.

Inslee released his sixth and final climate proposal, a plan focused on agriculture and farmers, hours before he announced he was dropping out of the race.

In a video released Tuesday on Twitter, Inslee thanked supporters for helping him pass the 130,000 individual donor mark.

“Together we have put the climate crisis front and centre in the 2020 race,” he said. “And thanks to you, every candidate knows they have to have a robust plan to defeat the climate crisis.”

More in News

Ryan Malane
Black Ball receives grant from Port Angeles City Council to keep it afloat

US-Canada land border may continue to be closed into 2022

Hospitalizations starting to fall

Long-term care resident among 2 deaths

Tucker Weatherly, 3, and Mary Wakefield, 2 1/2, collect leaves and berries from bushes and trees at Railroad Bridge Park in Sequim. They were both on a nature outing last week from Carlsborg-based Bibity Bobity Child Care. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
A berry fun nature walk

Tucker Weatherly, 3, and Mary Wakefield, 2 1/2, collect leaves and berries… Continue reading

Olympic Medical Cancer Center broke record with money raised

Awards were also announced at the 19th annual Harvest of Hope

Motorcyclist, passenger in stable condition at Harborview

Drug or alchol involved, State Patrol said

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe given annual award

Land trust to present it this Thursday

If a plan to control the deer population in Sunland is approved by Sunland Owners Association’s board of directors, deer would be reduced to 22 allowed to live in the area with state officials trapping and euthanizing the deer before donating the meat to local food banks. Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group
Sunland board considers deer culling

Draft plan could be first in state, serve as case study

The U.S. Lighthouse Society is hosting a kickoff event at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Point Wilson Lighthouse to highlight the next phase of renovations for the lighthouse and its two dwellings. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Public tour at Point Wilson

Point Wilson Lighthouse still being renovated

The Sims Way entrance to Port Townsend is lined with scores of Lombardy poplars — alongside power lines and the Boat Haven. The city and port plan to remove the trees to make room for boatyard expansion. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Iconic trees to be replaced, but with what?

Future meetings to give public chance to comment

Most Read