(Bloomberg) -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday that he would seek a third term in office, one day after he withdrew as a presidential candidate.
“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, 68, said in a statement.
Inslee had built his presidential campaign around battling climate change, an issue he said he would continue to champion as governor.
As a presidential candidate, he lagged in polling and fundraising. He told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night that he had decided to withdraw because he had determined he couldn’t win the nomination.
“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,” Inslee said on Maddow’s program.
Inslee had called for a $9 trillion investment to address climate change and reach 100% clean energy by 2035. His plan mandated that within the next decade, all new commercial and residential buildings be carbon-free, all electricity carbon neutral and all new cars and light trucks be emissions-free.
Even though climate change is a top issue for many voters, Inslee’s campaign never caught on. He pushed for a debate solely devoted to climate change, but the request was rejected by the Democratic National Committee.
He participated in the two first debates of Democratic contenders, though he didn’t meet a polling threshold for the third, in Houston next month, or for a town hall on climate change organized by CNN, also scheduled for September.
He never consistently polled above 1% and raised $3.1 million in the second quarter after raising $2.3 million in the first.
Inslee becomes the third Democratic presidential candidate to leave the 2020 race, following former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Representative Eric Swalwell of California.
Gun control was also a key issue for Inslee who lost his seat in the House of Representatives in 1994 after he voted in favor of banning the sale of assault weapons.
(Adds Inslee announcing run for governor in first, second and third paragraphs.)
--With assistance from Sahil Kapur.
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