WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, who made the fight against climate change the focus of his White House campaign, said on Wednesday he was withdrawing from the race for the 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential nomination.
The 68-year-old Inslee, speaking on MSNBC, said it had become clear he would not be the party’s standard-bearer and that he was pulling out of the race. Inslee announced his bid for the Democratic nomination on March 1.
“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 in an interview on MSNBC.
Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.
Inslee had struggled to break out of the bottom of the crowded Democratic pack, with polls showing him running last in the field of more than 20 candidates. He was the second Democrat this month to drop out of the race, after former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper withdrew last Thursday.
Inslee released a sweeping plan in June to reclaim U.S. leadership in the fight against climate change that included proposals to resettle hundreds of thousands of climate refugees, and raise barriers to fossil-fuel imports.
Several other Democratic candidates, including front-runner Joe Biden, have outlined similar goals of eliminating U.S. emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists blame for the effects of climate change, like sea level rise, droughts, floods and more frequent powerful storms.
Asked on MSNBC if he would support any other candidate, Inslee said: “I’m going to support the Democratic nominee. … I know these candidates. Every single one of them is a hundred percent better than the current occupant.
“I’m not endorsing any candidate tonight,” he added. “We have to beat Donald Trump. We have to be unified.”
Inslee said he would have further statements on Thursday about his intentions for the future.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Mohammad Zargham; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney)