Washington Governor Jay Inslee officially withdrew from the presidential race Wednesday night, August 21. As he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, he just doesn’t see a path forward for his campaign. But was the longshot run at the Oval Office simply a stepping stone to his true goal? Inslee, who may have shifted gears to focus on winning a third term as governor, wouldn’t be the first to drop out between debates only to later announce another candidacy. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called it quits in July, leaving him time to defend his seat in the House. Colorado’s former governor, John Hickenlooper, packed up his campaign mid-August and announced early Thursday, August 22, that he’s running for the Senate instead.
Who’s Next, John Delaney? After dumping $24 million of his own money into running for president and campaigning for more than two years, the former Maryland Representative managed to draw a whopping 11 people to his most recent event in Iowa. He had previously said that he plans to remain in the race even if he doesn’t make the next debate, but how long will he really stick it out? Turnouts like that don’t seem likely to help him into any office.
Much like his fellow dropouts, Gov. Inslee just isn’t pulling his weight in the polls. “It’s become clear that I’m not going to be carrying the ball. I’m not going to be the president,” Inslee told Maddow. Despite gaining some traction after the second debate and just reaching the 130,000 individual donors he needs, Inslee just isn’t where he needs to be in the polls to make the stage for the upcoming debate in Houston.
The climate change candidate was looking forward to hammering his issue of choice home at the next debate, but assures us that giving up on the White House doesn’t mean giving up on the planet. “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 tweeted.
When asked if he would give governor another shot, he teased that he would announce some of his intentions for his future political career Thursday and that folks would just have to wait.
There have been more than two dozen Democrats to ostensibly vie for the nomination, and most of them had to know they didn’t stand a chance. Could it be that, for some, winning the White House was never the point? Running for president tends to come with a significant amount of media attention. How many of these candidates outside the top five or so actually believe they have a shot at the White House? If Inslee’s goal was to become the next president, he didn’t even come close – but if his plan was simply to get as many eyes on his new climate plan as possible, well, then he was a roaring success. Not that he wouldn’t be glad to have the Democratic Party’s nomination, should things have gone differently, but one wonders if that was ever the actual plan.