The 2020 Democratic field shrunk by one candidate overnight as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee decided to bow out of the campaign. The writing was on the wall for Inslee for weeks now having failed to gain any traction in two debate appearances and failing to outline a reason for a presidential campaign beyond his pet issue of climate change.
NBC News reports on Inslee’s departure and his parting plea for someone else in the field, and for voters, to pick up where he leaves off in terms of environmental issues:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, he announced Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Inslee plans to send an email to supporters on Thursday announcing that he will run for a third term as governor, two sources close to Inslee told NBC News on condition of anonymity.
“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, vowing he’d help keep the other 2020 candidates focused on issue of climate change, the centerpiece of his campaign. “I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball.”
Inslee’s presidential campaign was bookended with pleas to take climate change seriously.
As for what this means to the race? Not really much of anything since Inslee was holding 1% polling support on his best day. He was never in a real position to make the September debate stage, but he did at least make it to the first two debates which gave him a national audience.
As for an endorsement, Inslee is taking a wait and see attitude and says he’ll support the eventual nominee regardless of the outcome.
Other campaigns, however, were quick to send some appreciation in Inslee’s direction, perhaps hoping to capitalize on the small slice of support he did hold in the primary field:
Congratulations to @JayInslee on his impactful campaign to bring the climate crisis to the forefront of the national conversation. There is no more important issue facing humanity. Together we will work to pass a Green New Deal and create millions of jobs.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 22, 2019
Thank you @JayInslee 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.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 22, 2019
Few leaders have done more to shine a light on the climate crisis than @JayInslee. His voice will be missed in this primary but I know he will continue this fight.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 22, 2019
That cuts the number of candidates down by one, but still leaves an enormous field of Democrats in the running, or at least trying to be in the running for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Farewell, Governor, there will be more joining you soon as the dropout list expands in the coming weeks.