Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that he is running for a third term, after dropping his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Inslee made the announcement in an email to supporters one day after he withdrew from the White House race amid lackluster polling.
“I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald Trump and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington state’s role as a progressive beacon for the nation,” Inslee said. “Which is why I’m announcing today my intention to run for a third term as Washington’s governor.”
During his short-lived White House bid, Inslee made the case that climate change is the central issue of our time. He released a plan that called for a new Justice Department office to prosecute environmental laws and vowed to put at least 40 percent of federal investments in clean energy in communities disproportionately affected by income inequality, pollution and other climate-related impacts.
Washington does not have term limits for governors, and it uses a nonpartisan primary system in which the top two vote-getters proceed to the general election regardless of political party.
No other Washington Democrats have announced gubernatorial bids. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who previously had been considering running, said in a statement Thursday that he will seek another term and supports Inslee’s decision to run for reelection.
Among the Republicans running are state Sen. Phil Fortunato, businessman Anton Sakharov and Loren Culp, a local police chief who gained national attention for his opposition to sweeping gun-control legislation that was passed by state lawmakers this year.
Inslee served two separate stints in the House for a total of 15 years before his election to the governor’s mansion in 2012. He won reelection in 2016 by a nine-point margin, narrower than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 16-point margin over Trump in the state.
In his email to supporters, Inslee touted his record on the economy, LGBT rights, health care and climate change. He also pointed out that Washington was “the first state to sue against Trump’s Muslim ban” and said the state has become “the epicenter of resistance” to President Trump’s agenda.
“Washington’s story shows the economic power of progressive action,” he said. “We’ve made incredible progress together, but there’s much more to do.”
Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, said Thursday that she was “thrilled” that Inslee is seeking a third term.
“With Governor Inslee at the helm, Washington State’s economy has boomed while we have made great strides in creating a more just and equitable society,” she said in a statement. “I’m confident the Governor will win reelection and look forward to the progress we’ll make in Olympia under his administration.”
Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.