Representative Jay Inslee's gubernatorial campaign just sent out a press release inviting media to a 1 PM news conference where he will make a "major announcement." In my mind, there can be only one reason to call a news conference on a weekend on such short notice, and that's to announce some actual news. And the newsiest thing I can imagine (outside of a cheap, Hollywood storyline) would be that Inslee will step down from Congress to focus on campaigning full time.

This has been a subject of speculation for a while, and the timing would be perfect. The partisan meltdown in the legislature over the past week gives Inslee a renewed opportunity to brandish his Olympia-outsider status—two recent polls show the race tightening into a dead heat, suggesting voters are beginning to pay closer attention. And with the special session extending the fundraising freeze on Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, an Inslee resignation would also free Inslee to more aggressively expand his fundraising lead.

Apart from the fact that he's already twice run and won statewide, McKenna's biggest advantage in this race has been his ability to campaign full-time, while Inslee must split his days between here and the other Washington. If Inslee were to step down from Congress, the most hotly contested gubernatorial race in the nation would just heat up faster.

(As for the the 1st CD race, no, at this late stage there would not be a special election, so Inslee's decision would have no impact.)

So stay tuned. I'd be awfully surprised if there isn't real news to report in a few hours.

UPDATE: Speculation confirmed.