Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, Climate Champion, Won’t Seek Re-Election

Source: By Reid J. Epstein, New York Times • Posted: Monday, May 1, 2023

Mr. Inslee, 72, a former presidential candidate and a leading Democratic proponent of policies to slow climate change, said he would not seek a fourth term.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at a news conference in front of the Seattle skyline, including the Space Needle, with supporters standing behind him.
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State ran for president in the 2020 election on a platform of sharply reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, the nation’s longest-serving current governor and one of the Democratic Party’s leading climate defenders, will not seek a fourth term in office next year, he announced on Monday.

“Serving the people as governor of Washington State has been my greatest honor,” he said. “During a decade of dynamic change, we’ve made Washington a beacon for progress for the nation. I’m ready to pass the torch.”

Mr. Inslee, 72, who before becoming governor was elected to Congress eight times, ran for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination on a platform of sharply reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. He dropped out of the race in August 2019 when it became clear he would not meet the Democratic National Committee’s threshold to appear in presidential debates.

During President Donald J. Trump’s years in office, Mr. Inslee placed himself on the vanguard of the Democratic opposition to Mr. Trump’s policies. Mr. Inslee and the Washington State attorney general, Bob Ferguson, filed a series of lawsuits against Mr. Trump’s administration, challenging policies on its ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, its separation of migrant children from their parents and its unwinding of climate regulations.

Mr. Ferguson, who has long had eyes on succeeding Mr. Inslee, is now considered one of the front-runners in an open-seat race to replace him at the helm of a solidly Democratic state. Though in 2012 Mr. Inslee won his first election for governor by just three percentage points, by 2020 he carried the state by more than 13 points.