Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb announced on Tuesday that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race. He left the door open on a potential independent presidential bid, but said a decision on that would come later.
Citing frustration with party leadership and what he sees as a corrupt political class, Webb announced at the National Press Club this afternoon that he is withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic Party’s nominee.
“Some people say I am a Republican who became a Democrat, or that I often sound like a Republican in a room full of Democrats or a Democrat in a room full of Republicans,” he said. ”I fully accept that my views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party.”
Asked if he is still a Democrat, the former Ronald Reagan administration appointee replied: ”We’ll think about that.” He also said he has no plans to endorse a candidate of either party.
The former Virginia senator said he still has a role to play in 2016 and vowed to remain “a voice” in politics “I’m not going away,” he pledged. Webb said he will meet with voters to determine what kind of role he can best play going forward. Webb also acknowledged the difficulty of a independent run, and said he has studied the challenges.
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Webb will not participate in future Democratic debates, he said, and nor will he attend this weekend’s Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner, a major Democratic party event featuring the party’s entire field of presidential candidates. “We’re done with the Iowa pay-for-play dinners. We’re not going to waste our small donors’ hard earned cash on elite party events for Hillary’s pals. (And you can quote me on that if you like),” said Webb spokesperson Craig Crawford.
Webb had run a low-key campaign and had little organizational infrastructure. As a Democratic candidate, he faced a number of deadlines to get on the ballot in several states beginning in the next coming weeks.
But if he were to run as an independent, Webb would not face his first filing deadlines until next summer, according to expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News. Several independent presidential candidates have managed to get on the ballot in all 50 states in previous election cycles, even when starting later than Webb.
For her part, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party didn’t seem too concerned with sending Webb on his way. “We were glad to welcome him onto the debate stage last week in Nevada and wish him well going forward,” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.