NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Washington Governor Jay Inslee ends his candidacy for President of the United States

Jay Inslee has pulled the plug on his pres­i­den­tial campaign.

In an appear­ance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Mad­dow Show, Wash­ing­ton State’s chief exec­u­tive announced that he has decid­ed to with­draw from the 2020 field, hav­ing con­clud­ed that his can­di­da­cy was not gain­ing traction.

Inslee recent­ly met the donor thresh­old for the third Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial debates in Hous­ton, but he has­n’t been polling well enough to meet the pub­lic opin­ion thresh­old. Hav­ing con­clud­ed there was no way to be includ­ed in next mon­th’s debates, Inslee has decid­ed to leave the race.

“I want to share a tough deci­sion with you,” Inslee said in an email to his list.

“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. 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.

(Empha­sis is the campaign’s.)

“On Mon­day, our cam­paign hit one of two crit­i­cal DNC thresh­olds to qual­i­fy for the next debate — 130,000 grass­roots donors. Reach­ing that chal­leng­ing mile­stone proves the strong sup­port that defeat­ing cli­mate [dam­age] has amongst the grass­roots of our par­ty. How­ev­er, at the same time we reached this thresh­old, it became clear that we would not meet the DNC’s polling thresh­old, thus we would not have been invit­ed to the fall debates.”

“As a result, I don’t believe we can com­pete for the atten­tion and expo­sure need­ed to have a rea­son­able shot at the nomination.”

“Tru­di and I love you,” Inslee added in closing.

Now the ques­tion is: Will Inslee seek a third term as Gov­er­nor of the State of Wash­ing­ton? We won’t have to wait very long to find out.

“I will have state­ments tomor­row about my inten­tions,” Inslee told Mad­dow in MSNBC’s New York stu­dios, refus­ing to say any­thing more about his plans.

“I need to go back to the State of Wash­ing­ton,” he empha­sized, when Mad­dow pressed him for an answer on whether he would run for governor.

He isn’t endors­ing a rival can­di­date at this time, he said.

Sev­er­al of Inslee’s rivals praised his candidacy.

“Thank you Jay Inslee for fight­ing every day to make sure that cli­mate change remains a pri­ma­ry focus of this elec­tion. 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,” tweet­ed Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren of Mass­a­chu­setts, a lead­ing con­tender.

“Few lead­ers have done more to shine a light on the cli­mate cri­sis than Jay Inslee,” tweet­ed Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia. “His voice will be missed in this pri­ma­ry but I know he will con­tin­ue this fight.”

MORE FROM NPI’S RUAIRI VAUGHAN: Gov­er­nor Inslee’s cam­paign was laser-focused on the issue of cli­mate dam­age, cor­rect­ly argu­ing that main­tain­ing a hab­it­able earth has a tie-in with every oth­er impor­tant issue.

Inslee had a detailed, ten-year plan to tack­le the cli­mate cri­sis, with bold mea­sures includ­ing a tran­si­tion to 100% clean ener­gy, a $9 tril­lion invest­ment plan, a new approach to for­eign pol­i­cy, and cut­ting the flow of fos­sil fuels.

Dur­ing the debates Inslee didn’t get a whole lot of speak­ing time. He played sec­ond fid­dle to bet­ter known can­di­dates who the mod­er­a­tors urged to take each oth­er on, like Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris. But when the dis­cus­sion turned to what to do about the cli­mate cri­sis, he owned the issue. In the July debates he stood out by call­ing out the for­mer Vice President’s mid­dle-of-the-road envi­ron­men­tal plan for its lack of ambi­tion, say­ing “the time is up. Our house is on fire!

Even when oth­er can­di­dates tried to tout their own envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies, they felt the need to also praise Inslee’s com­pre­hen­sive policies.

Inslee’s with­draw­al will dis­ap­point envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions; he con­sis­tent­ly topped Greenpeace’s 2020 cli­mate rank­ing, and gained the love of the youth-led Sun­rise Move­ment by bat­tling with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee (DNC) over the mer­its of a cli­mate change-focused debate. The Movement’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, Varshi­ni Prakash, tweet­ed on Wednes­day, “We’ll miss you in this race @JayInslee.”

Inslee’s with­draw­al from the race sparked a show­er of praise from all the oth­er major can­di­dates, who all not­ed his campaign’s impact on the nation­al dis­course. For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden tweet­ed that “the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton are for­tu­nate to have a Gov­er­nor who fights to make their lives bet­ter now and to pro­tect our plan­et in the future.”

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One Comment

  1. I was real­ly sur­prised that he left so ear­ly. In his first cam­paign for gov­er­nor, he ran against a very touch oppo­nent in McKen­na and pulled off what seemed to be an upset vic­to­ry. I thought he would take his fight to the pri­ma­ry, where he could meet the peo­ple in each state, some­thing that he does real well.

    # by Mike Barer :: August 22nd, 2019 at 7:36 AM
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