According to campaign insiders, US Representative Jay Inslee (WA-01) will announce that he is stepping down from Congress to focus full time on his campaign for the Washington governorship, confirming earlier speculation. Inslee's resignation will be effective March 20th.

As for the timing, campaign insiders tell me that this wasn't an easy decision for Inslee, but that the recent partisan meltdown in Olympia pushed him to make the move sooner rather than later. No doubt Republicans will attempt to spin this as an act of desperation or a sign of weakness, but with two recent polls suggesting Inslee has climbed into a tie, it seems more an effort to take advantage of the momentum Inslee already has. In any case, it's got to be seen as bad news for Inslee's Republican opponent, Rob McKenna, who has up until now enjoyed the advantage of being able to campaign full time, while Inslee has had to split his days between here and the other Washington.

This is shaping up to be the most hotly contested gubernatorial race in the nation, and it will take a full time campaign to win, so no doubt a lot of Dems will be relieved to hear today's news.