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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks with reporters at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 10 in Des Moines. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

Why it matters: Inslee was a longshot for the Democratic nomination, but his focus on climate change has helped elevate the issue to a degree unseen in prior cycles. He was the driving force behind what’s now a wider — though still unsuccessful — campaign for the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate on the topic. Inslee hit the donor threshold to qualify for September's Democratic debates, but did not meet the minimum polling requirements.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
It's become clear that I'm not going to be carrying the ball, I'm not going to be the president so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race.

Details: Inslee told Maddow he would not endorse any particular candidate and that he would support whomever the Democratic presidential candidate is.

What's next? Inslee would not be drawn on his future plans, telling Maddow he would make an announcement Thursday. AP reports that he will announce in an email to supporters Thursday that he will seek a third term as governor, citing 2 people close him.

The big picture: Inslee is the third Democrat to end his presidential bid after Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

  • Inslee quit ahead of CNN's climate change town hall in September. He said during an interview with Vox on Tuesday he thinks his team has "raised the bar and driven the other candidates to be more ambitious" on the issue of climate change.
"We forced the debate onto the stage; it wasn’t there when we started. So now you have the Democratic Party at least having a vote on whether they’re going to have a [climate] debate, and you have two major networks fostering debate. I don’t see evidence that that would have happened without us."
— Inslee interview with Vox

What they're saying: Several Democratic presidential candidates tweeted tributes to Inslee's achievement in making climate change a key focus of the race, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

2 hours ago - World

North Korea's military fires another ballistic missile into sea

A woman in Seoul, South Korea, walks past a television image if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired at least one ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.