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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.Lindsey Wasson / AP file

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is not running for re-election

Inslee, who was elected to a third term in 2020, said it is time to "pass the torch."

By and

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that he will not be seeking a fourth term, opening up a governor's race in a deeply Democratic state.

"During a decade of dynamic change, we’ve made Washington a beacon for progress for the nation," the 72-year-old Democrat said in a statement. "I’m ready to pass the torch."

Inslee won his first term as governor in 2012 after representing Washington in Congress. After making an unsuccessful run for president focused on combatting climate change, Inslee pivoted back to his state and won a third term in 2020 by more than 13 percentage points.

Inslee's retirement opens up a gubernatorial race in Washington State, which typically backs Democrats in statewide elections. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray did face a competitive re-election campaign last year, but she went on to defeat Republican Tiffany Smiley by just under 15 percentage points.

The Seattle Times reports that Democrats Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz are expected to run to replace him. And The Dispatch reported earlier this year that former Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was considering a bid.

Others could make a run too, especially considering that the office has no term limits, making vacancies less common there.