Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) announced Saturday that he is resigning from Congress to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.
The Democrat announced his decision at a news conference in Seattle, the Associated Press reported. Inslee is in his eighth term representing a Seattle-area district in the House.
Washington’s Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, is retiring at the end of her term, and Inslee is running against Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna to replace her.
Inslee’s decision has been rumored for weeks. Some polling has shown him facing an early deficit against state Attorney General Rob McKenna, and the commute between Washington, D.C., and Washington state is an arduous one — not to mention the fact that McKenna has his day job when he’s in the District.
Democrats point to some more encouraging polling in recent days and suggest that once Inslee boosts his name recognition, he will gain in the polls.
By waiting until now to resign, Inslee allows the state to keep the seat vacant until November. Had he resigned earlier, Gregoire would have had to call a special election.