Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will not run for re-election in 2024
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee will not run for re-election in 2024, opening the gates for a new Democratic candidate after three terms in office.
Inslee announced Monday morning that he is "ready to pass the torch," and will not seek a fourth term.
RELATED: What will Jay Inslee's legacy be after 12 years as governor?
According to a statement from Inslee:
“Serving the people as governor of Washington state has been my greatest honor. During a decade of dynamic change, we’ve made Washington a beacon for progress for the nation. I’m ready to pass the torch.
“Our last decade of Washington’s storied history is one of growth and innovation. I am proud to have played a role in our state’s leadership on so many fronts. We’ve passed the nation’s best climate policies, the most successful family leave benefits, the best college scholarship programs, a more fair legal justice system, and the most protective actions against gun violence. We’ve shown that diversity is a strength worth fighting for. This has been ten years of dynamic success.
“As governor, I have seen my role as inspiring our state ever forward and ever higher. I’m gratified to be able to say that this approach has worked to improve Washingtonians lives in many ways and many places.
“Now is the time to intensely focus on all we can accomplish in the next year and a half, and I intend to do just that. I look forward to continued partnership with legislators and community leaders to address Washington’s homelessness crisis, speed our efforts to expand behavioral health services, continue our fight against climate change, and continue making Washington a beacon of progress for all.”
Inslee's statement Monday further touted a list of accomplishments while in office, including climate policies, navigating the Covid-19 pandemic, and fostering a positive business and worker-friendly economy.
State Republicans countered Inslee's announcement within hours, arguing that the governor has made "several egregious missteps," abused emergency powers, wasted taxpayer funds, and failed to adequately address the homelessness crisis. The state GOP further blamed Inslee for his "allowance of protestors to take control of an entire city block in Washington's largest city, leading to deadly outcomes," referencing 2020's CHOP zone in Seattle.
"It's time to turn the page on the disastrous Inslee era in Washington State," Washington State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said in a statement. "For over a decade, Governor Inslee has taken our state in the wrong direction. His decision to not seek a fourth term presents an opportunity to elect a Republican governor who will put Washingtonians first and prioritize the needs of our communities."
RELATED: Prominent Dems are eyeing a run for governor in 2024
A range of Democrats have already been rumored as candidates to replace Inslee. Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has often been mentioned as a contender for the state's top job. Attorney General Bob Ferguson has also been viewed as a gubernatorial candidate for years. Both Franz and Ferguson have said they have been considering a run for governor.
King County Executive Dow Constantine's name has also been thrown around for consideration, but in March, Constantine put any rumors to rest and said that he will not consider a run for governor in 2024.
Inslee first took office in 2013. Serving three terms as governor is rare in Washington. Republican Gov. Daniel J. Evans is the only other Washington governor to serve three terms in office.