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Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race, announces bid for governor

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Jay Inslee announced on Wednesday that he is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race. On Thursday morning, he emailed supporters, stating he would instead run for a third term as governor.

“I know you agree that our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion — and must be the top priority for our next president,” Inslee said Wednesday. “But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be the next president of the United States.”

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“We’ve made incredible progress together, but there’s much more to do,” Inslee said in his Thursday email announcing his bid for governor. “Make no mistake — we will not be resting on our laurels. We fully intend for Washington’s future to be every bit as dynamic, innovative, and inclusive as its past.”

Inslee touted himself as one of the only candidates to run on a climate change platform. He promised his donors and supporters that he would wake up early Thursday to continue the fight.

“As we turn to the future, I will have more to say about what comes next for me in the days ahead. I can assure you that I will continue to lead, to demand bold action, and to do everything in my power to ensure the fight to defeat climate change stays at the top of the national agenda.”

Inslee, who had previously been scheduled to visit New Hampshire on Thursday, will now be back in Washington state for a morning news conference at Planned Parenthood in Seattle regarding the Title X family planning program.

While never gaining massive national attention, Washington’s governor managed to make it to both national debates between Democratic candidates. There was question about whether he would gain enough support to make it to the next round. He said in his letter on Wednesday that his campaign did achieve that goal.

“On Monday, our campaign hit one of two critical DNC thresholds to qualify for the next debate — 130,000 grassroots donors.”

Inslee continued by saying that those 130,000 donors proves to him the support that defeating climate change has “among the grassroots of his party.”

“I believe we’re going to have a candidate to fight this battle,” he said on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” “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.”

Inslee has been governor of Washington state since 2013. He announced his candidacy for president on March 1, 2019.

Rachel La Corte with the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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