Congressman Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) announced Saturday afternoon he will resign from office effective March 20 to commit himself one hundred percent to his race for Washington State Governor, confirming earlier reports.

His campaign released a formal statement offering some explanation for the congressman’s reversal:

“I am not one for half measures or half-hearted efforts,” continued Inslee. “I am going to leave everything on the field. I am going everywhere and I am going to listen to everybody. If you have an idea, I want to hear it. If you have a problem, I want to know it. If you have a business, I want to help you grow it. I am all in.”

Inslee’s news was also sent out via Twitter, eliciting a reply from one constituent asking the question also on the minds of many strategists and pundits: Why not sooner?

Inslee’s decision is a sharp about-face as documented by the Washington State Republican Party in a release following Inslee’s official announcement. In its release, the WSRP detailed exactly how egregious of a flip-flop the decision to resign really was, citing four distinct occasions – one, two, three and four – in which the media was told by the Inslee campaign that working in Congress was not interfering with the soon-to-be former congressman’s campaign.

Only two weeks ago, As recently as February 26, The Seattle Times reported that the Inslee campaign was ardently denying rumors that he might need to choose between serving the people and running for office.

At issue now is not the rationale for Inslee’s decision, but the timing of his announcement, coming only days after a special election would have allowed voters to fill his seat for the remainder of the current term.

“I suspect the people of the First Congressional District won’t really notice that he is gone, given his lack of accomplishments in the 15 years he has been in Congress,” State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said in a written statement.

Inslee’s decision leaves the people of the First Congressional District without a representative in the U.S. House until after the November election and presents Inslee with a new challenge on the campaign trail, how to convince voters of his indispensability as a public servant when the manner of his resignation sends the opposite message.

It is the prerogative of an incumbent to steer succession to a new candidate who can fill their shoes, live up to their record of achievement. Based on today’s decision, in terms of his political shoe size, Inslee proudly wears a zero.

“I look forward to hearing Congressman Inslee explain how 15 years in Washington, D.C. have prepared him to lead our state, now that he is quitting Congress,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Our team has been waging a campaign of ideas since last June, yet the Congressman waited over seven months after announcing his candidacy to release any specific proposals.”


[featured photo credit: Jay Inslee]