Democratic strategist praises Inslee for elevating issue of climate change

Democratic strategist Will Jawando praised Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE (D) on Thursday for helping to bring the issue of climate change to the forefront before eventually dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

“He elevated the issue,” Jawando, who is now a council member in Montgomery County, Md., told Hill.TV.

Inslee, who now plans to run for another term as governor, had made fighting climate change the central issue of his campaign.

“He did it credit on the debate stages that he did make and he was a real grassroots supporter and pushed the other folks to come out with ambitious plans,” Jawando added.

Jawando also predicted that Inslee would be a “well sought-after endorsement” among the remaining Democratic White House contenders.

His comments come a day after Inslee dropped out of the 2020 presidential race during an interview with MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowBiden town hall on CNN finishes third in cable news race Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat 'Anonymous' gets media frenzy without pesky scrutiny for new book MORE

"It's become clear that I'm not going to be carrying the ball," Inslee told Maddow. "I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race."

But Inslee said he remained optimistic about his party's future, and the ability of the U.S. to address the effects of climate change in time.

The announcement comes after the the Washington governor was all but certain to miss next month's third Democratic primary debate. Inslee had failed to reach the 2 percent support in four qualifying polls approved by the Democratic National Committee. He previously tried to get the DNC to hold a presidential debate focused on climate change, but that effort was unsuccessful. 

—Tess Bonn