Inslee was close to meeting the thresholds for the next round of debates when he made his announcement during an appearance on MSNBC late Aug. 21.
“I’m not going to be the president so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race,” Inslee told host Rachel Maddow.
“But I have to tell you, look, I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America to meet critical mass to move the ball,” he added, referring to the issue he most highlighted in his campaign.
The tremendous grassroots outpouring of 130,000 individual donors, from every state in the nation, is a testament to the movement that we’ve built together. We hit this high bar set by the DNC. Together, we changed and shaped the entire national dialogue around climate change.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) August 22, 2019
In a statement, Inslee said: “I know you agree that our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion—and must be the top priority for our next president. But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be our next president.
“As disappointing as this is, it is only right to recognize what we have accomplished and how far we have come together. The tremendous grassroots outpouring of 130,000 individual donors, from every state in the nation, is a testament to the movement that we’ve built together. We hit this high bar set by the DNC. Together, we changed and shaped the entire national dialogue around climate change.”
Inslee told supporters he would reveal what his next moves will be in the days ahead and thanked them for their support. Later in the day, he announced he would be running for another term as Washington’s governor.
Inslee had struggled to gain recognition, often getting less than 1 percent in polls.
Inslee dropped out of the race after four others had dropped out: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, ex-West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda, and Hickenlooper.
More than 20 contenders still remain in the race; only 10 have qualified for the September debates with the deadline looming.
Hickenlooper to Challenge Gardner
Hickenlooper, meanwhile, announced early on Aug. 22 that he’ll be challenging incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) for a Senate seat.
“I’m running to give Colorado’s priorities and values a voice in Washington,” Hickenlooper said on his campaign website.
“Right now, we’re represented by a senator who works to undo our progress by voting 99 percent of the time with Donald Trump and going along with Mitch McConnell’s obstruction and partisan political games.”
The website also stated that “John is running for Senate to make Washington work for Coloradans by bringing people together to lower health care and prescription drug costs, to keep our families safe from gun violence, and protect the state’s public lands while also combating climate change.”
Hickenlooper said during the video statement announcing he was dropping out of the presidential race that many Colorado residents were urging him to run for the Senate seat.
“They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state,” Hickenlooper said. “I intend to give that some serious thought.”