Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) acknowledges supporters during a news conference… (Ken Lambert / Seattle Times )
Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington announced Saturday that he would resign his seat in Congress so that he could focus on his campaign for governor.
Inslee, a Democrat, has represented Washington's 1st District in Congress since 1999. He also served a single term representing the 4th District from 1993 to 1995.
His resignation will take effect March 20.
"I am not one for half-measures or halfhearted efforts," Inslee said in a statement from his campaign. "I am going to leave everything on the field."
Inslee is the sole Democrat in the race to succeed two-term Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who chose not to seek a third term this year. Polls show Inslee trailing two-term state Atty. Gen. Rob McKenna, a Republican.
Inslee's resignation will create a third vacancy in the House, all seats that had been held by Democrats. Gabrielle Giffords resigned her Arizona congressional seat in January. This week, New Jersey Rep. Donald M. Payne died after a battle with colon cancer.
In a statement, President Obama said that "while Jay’s voice in Congress will be missed, I know he will continue his dedicated service to the people of Washington state."