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Gov. Jay Inslee won't seek re-election, ending speculation over unprecedented 4th term

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will not seek re-election in 2024, he announced on Monday, ending speculation over whether he would seek an unprecedented fourth term in office.

Unlike most states, Washington does not impose any term limits on its governors, and Inslee was the second governor to serve out three terms. Inslee also ran an unsuccessful presidential bid in the 2020 Democratic primary, where he focused mostly on climate issues.

“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,” Inslee wrote in a statement.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee stands next to Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, left, announced he is not running for re-election in 2024, opening the role for another Democrat. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

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While Inslee’s retirement opens the door for a more hotly contested election in 2024, the seat is likely to remain in Democrats’ control given Washington’s deep blue voting history.

Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Washington

During his time in office, Gov. Inslee has pursued gun control and climate legislation. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

“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,” he wrote Monday. “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.”

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“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,” he added.

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