The 68-year-old, two-term Democrat made his plans official on Thursday morning, just hours after announcing he was ending his almost seven month bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. He told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night that he had chose to withdraw because he had determined he couldn't win the nomination.
Mr Inslee announced his decision on MSNBC on Wednesday night, telling presenter Rachael Maddow that "it's become clear" that he would not become president.
He also did not look likely to qualify for CNN's climate town hall or the third presidential debate, both being held next month.
It also appeared certain he would not make the cut for the third Democratic National Committee debate hosted by ABC on September 12-13. The progressive cable television company has a rule that presidential hopefuls must attain 2 percent support in four or more polls to be eligible to participate.
Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz had discussed bids for governor if Inslee didn't run again.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday night, citing two sources close to the governor, that he intends to seek re-election. But we've also had so many people I've met who are inspiring, who want us to act, who have helped me.
Some writers are arguing that Inslee's presidential run could have been the most important in the history of single-issue presidential campaigns, especially if it ends up influencing the next president's climate policies.
"We are now involved in one of history's greatest endeavors: save those who are living on this little blue planet from the dangers and massive threat of climate change".
So early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and organize. As a governor, I came into this race with zero federal dollars, a small state-based email list, and limited name recognition, yet together we hit a target that half of the field has not hit - the DNC's grassroots supporter metric.
Inslee told MSNBC it had "become clear" he would not be the Democratic party's nominee and was thus withdrawing his candidacy, following in the footsteps of the California representative Eric Swalwell and the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
During his short-lived White House bid, Inslee made the case that climate change is the central issue of our time. "I feel very good saying that now", he added. He stressed that he saw climate change as becoming more of an urgent issue to address. "I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race".
Before I chose to run, Trudi and I - my wife of almost 47 years - decided in our final days we wanted to be able to tell our three grandchildren, Brody, Zoe, and Chase, that we had done everything in our power to defeat this crisis.
"Climate change is real and it's a crisis - and I will keep fighting alongside you to take bold action before it is too late", she wrote.