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Inslee to seek third term

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has ended his climate change-focused 2020 presidential bid, is set to announce Thursday that he'll seek a third term as governor.

Two people close to Inslee told The Associated Press that Inslee planned to make the announcement in an email to supporters. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.

Inslee, who made fighting climate change the central theme of his presidential campaign, announced Wednesday night that he was ending his campaign after nearly six months.

Inslee said that he was confident that Democrats would select a nominee who would champion climate change issues but that it had become clear that he wouldn't be the person selected. Inslee said he was not endorsing anyone but would support whoever is the nominee.

"I believe we're going to have a candidate to fight this battle," he said on MSNBC. "I'm inspired by the people I've met across the country. I'm not going to carry the ball but we're going to make sure somebody is."

Inslee, who had previously been scheduled to visit New Hampshire on Thursday, will now be back in Washington state for a morning news conference at Planned Parenthood in Seattle regarding the Title X family planning program.

While the filing deadline for the state's 2020 elections isn't until next May, three Democrats had already signalled they would run for governor, but only if Inslee didn't: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine. The political dominos continued with Democratic candidates lining up to run for attorney general and lands commissioner if Ferguson and Franz end up not seeking reelection to their posts.

Franz said Wednesday night that she's not disappointed that she won't be entering the governor's race, saying that she loved her current job and has "a lot of work to do."

State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said that he thinks Inslee could be vulnerable in a re-election bid.

"Getting elected to a third term is a tough task," he said. "And doing so on the heels of a failed presidential campaign where you sent a message to voters that you want a different job, that doesn't sit very well."

A few Republicans have already announced plans to run for governor, including Phil Fortunato, a state senator, and Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, in eastern Washington. A Republican has not occupied the governor's office in more than three decades.

Governors in Washington state aren't subject to term limits, though most haven't served more than two terms. The last three-term governor in Washington was Republican Gov. Dan Evans, who served from 1965 until 1977.

Inslee, 68, became the third Democrat to end his presidential bid after U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California pulled out of the primary last month, followed by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week.



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