Sen. Jim Webb will not seek reelection, several news outlets are now reporting.
Webb won a tight race over George Allen in the Democrats’ steallar 2006 year. Sure, he benefitted from the “macaca” controversy and Allen’s disasterous campaign, but he also ran as a Democrat with an independent streak. He opposed the Iraq war, but had served as Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, and promised to not be beholden to his political party.
In reality, he became a reliable vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Obama agenda, which became problematic as Virginia drifted back to the right in the 2009 and 2010 elections. But one vote in particular stands out — his support for the national health care law and subsequent opposition to its repeal. Remember, Virginia is the epicenter for opposition to ObamaCare, having been the first state to pass a Health Care Freedom Act, and then launch one of the suits challenging the law’s constitutionality. Webb would have an uphill battle to reelection, especially given that he only won by a whisker in 2006.
Right now, the Democrats’ top choice for a candidate to replace Webb would be former governor Tim Kaine, who thus far has said he won’t run.