Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) plans to leave Congress to focus full-time on his campaign for governor.

Inslee is in a competitive race against Rob McKenna, the state's attorney general. Democrats have reportedly been urging Inslee to retire and focus solely on the campaign, saying the long commute between Washington state and Washington, D.C. has made it difficult for him to build name recognition at home.

Inslee lost a gubernatorial bid in 1996.

He was first elected to Congress in 1992, lost his reelection bid and returned to Congress, representing suburbs of Seattle, in 1998.

President Obama said in a statement that throughout his years in the capital Inslee had not "forgotten where he came from."

"A son of the Pacific Northwest, Jay has been a champion of our natural resources while pushing for new sources of clean energy," Obama's statement said. "Jay has supported new frontiers in technology, and worked to increase fairness in our nation’s health care system."

This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.