Inslee calls on DNC to hold debate focused on climate change

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' Inslee gives public option first test in Washington state Overnight Energy: Dems dismiss Interior chief's work calendars as 'fake' | Buttigieg climate plan includes carbon tax | Poll finds growing number say climate is crucial 2020 issue MORE (D), who has made climate change the focal point of his presidential campaign, called on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold a debate centered solely on the issue.

“Climate change is the biggest threat facing our nation. And it demands to be the sole focus of a nationally televised debate. Democrats must put this issue front and center,” he said in a petition to pressure the DNC to hold the debate. 

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“This can’t be a one-off question where candidates get to give a soundbite and move on: Climate change is at the heart of every issue that matters to voters, and voters deserve to hear what 2020 presidential candidates plan to do about it,” he added in a press release.

Inslee’s petition follows a similar one from Youth Climate Strike that had neared its goal of 30,000 signatures as of Tuesday night.

Inslee is hoping to double down on climate change as a means to differentiate himself in a Democratic primary crowd that is already fielding over a dozen candidates, many of whom have higher name recognition and beefier campaign bank accounts. 

The DNC has not released details about its debates beyond the schedule, declining thus far to make commitments about topics or structure.

“While Republicans refuse to even acknowledge that climate change is real, Democrats are eager to put forward their solutions to combat climate change, and we will absolutely have these discussions during the 2020 primary process,” the DNC said in a statement to The Hill when asked about Inslee’s petition. 

“The DNC is currently ironing out the details for all 12 debates and will work with the networks to ensure that Democrats have a platform to discuss these issues directly with the American people,” Hinojosa added.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.