Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeSunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Social distancing works, but resistance prompts worries of growing crisis MORE (D) dropped out of the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday.

Inslee told MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMaddow hits Trump's 'happy talk' on virus: 'I would stop putting those briefings on live TV' New York City reports 923 coronavirus cases, 10 deaths Biden faces tricky test in unifying party MORE during an interview that he would withdraw from the race because it had "become clear" to him that he had no path to the nomination.

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

Inslee, who made climate change the signature issue of his campaign, told Maddow he was optimistic about his party's future and the ability of the U.S. to address the effects of climate change in time.
 
"I've been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I've never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball," he said.
 
Inslee had previously urged the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to focus an entire debate on the issue of climate change, which he has called the most pressing issue facing the U.S. Hours before his announcement Wednesday night, his campaign produced a plan for battling climate change in rural communities that would reward farmers for embracing eco-friendly technology.
 
 
Inslee had struggled to gain traction in the campaign, and in a press release, Inslee's campaign said it had become clear that reaching the polling threshold before the next round of debates would not be possible.
 
His campaign announced last week that it had reached the donor threshold, but with only a week left to qualify, Inslee had not achieved the required 2 percent in any qualifying poll. Despite his campaign's central focus on the issue of climate change, Inslee had also failed to qualify for an upcoming CNN town hall on the issue.
 
"It became clear that we would not meet the DNC's polling threshold, thus we would not have been invited to the fall debates. As a result, I don't believe we can compete for the attention and exposure needed to have a reasonable shot at the nomination," Inslee wrote in the release.
 
"As we turn to the future, I will have more to say about what comes next for me in the days ahead. I can assure you that I will continue to lead, to demand bold action, and to do everything in my power to ensure the fight to defeat climate change stays at the top of the national agenda," he continued.
 
Inslee's 2020 competitors thanked the governor for his contributions to the race, particularly on the issue of fighting climate change, on Twitter following his announcement.
 
"Few leaders have done more to shine a light on the climate crisis than @JayInslee. His voice will be missed in this primary but I know he will continue this fight," wrote Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? MORE (D-Calif.).
"Thank you @JayInslee for fighting every day to make sure that climate change remains a primary focus of this election. Climate change is real and it's a crisis—and I will keep fighting alongside you to take bold action before it is too late," added Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.).