2020 Presidential Profiles

Published — March 1, 2019

9 things to know about Jay Inslee

Can Washington state’s governor stand out in a crowded Democratic presidential primary?


Update, Aug. 21, 2019: Jay Inslee has ended his presidential bid.

After several months of flirting with the possibility of running, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has officially declared his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race. Addressing climate change is among his priorities.

“I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority,” Inslee said Feb. 28 in a campaign launch video. “We can do this … this is our moment.”

Considered to be a liberal outlier by many, Inslee is about as far as you can be from the White House — both geographically and politically. Despite asserting that there is a political niche he fills in a crowded Democratic presidential field, Inslee is a dark-horse candidate with only moderate name recognition beyond his home state.

Prior to becoming a governor, Inslee served in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Washington’s 1st Congressional District from 1999 to 2013. In Congress, Inslee voted with the Democratic party line 91 percent of the time.

Here’s more on Inslee’s political and financial history:

  • Inslee is one of the first Democratic presidential candidates to sign a pledge to refuse any financial contributions from fossil-fuel interests, joined by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, D, speaks at a road construction ceremony in Seattle on April 2, 2016. (Credit: Frank Fujimoto)
  • Inslee has been accepting financial donations for his re-election race for governor in 2020, but he cannot transfer these funds to his presidential campaign warchest. His gubernatorial campaign team has stockpiled more than $226,000, as of its most recent financial report, which goes through Jan. 31.
  • In October, Inslee’s state campaign treasurer filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to start Vision PAC, which was the most overt foreshadowing of Inslee’s presidential ambitions. The PAC collected more than $242,000 in 2018, according to its latest filing.
  • Vision PAC has received the maximum donation of $5,000 from a number of developers, environmental groups and lawyers, including David Zapolsky, general counsel for Amazon. Amazon announced plans for a fourth distribution center to be built this year in eastern Washington state, supplementing the ones in DuPont, Kent and Sumner, and its headquarters in Seattle. Another noteworthy contributor is Rick Steves, the renowned travel writer and television personality.  

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, The New York Times, Washington Secretary of State, Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of State, Federal Election Commission, The Seattle Times, The Atlantic, Medium, Ballotpedia, The Washington Post, Boeing, Amazon.com.

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[…] 9 things to know about Jay Inslee  Center for Public Integrity […]

5 years ago

Our governor Jay Inslee is a nice guy but from what i’ve observed at a distance living in SW WA Clark county since ’91, is that Jay’s part of a long line of establishment quasi liberal dems moving up in the ranks to governor and beyond doing a fairly creditable balancing act between the voters and corporate power. But that multi billion dollar tax give away to Boeing without tying any local jobs to it was egregious and beyond disgusting. Somebody forgot to proofread or else the fix was in. Absolutely shameful, and on Inslee’s watch. He can’t hold a… Read more »