Former Virginia senator Jim Webb announced Tuesday that he would no longer be pursuing his Democratic presidential nomination. He told reporters that he will consider an independent bid in the coming weeks.
When speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, Webb argued that the Democratic Party had steered away from “millions of dedicated, hard-working Americans,” CNN reports. “For this reason, I am withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency,” he said.
He continued by claiming that “more people in the country call themselves political independents than Republicans or Democrats. I happen to agree with them.” Webb told reporters that his withdrawal “does not reduce in any way my concerns for the challenges facing the country…or my intentions to remain fully engaged in the debates that are facing us.”
“The very nature of our democracy is under siege due to the power structure and the money that finances both political parties,” Webb said, adding that now is the “time for a new Declaration of Independence–not from an outside power but from the paralysis of a federal system that no longer serves the interests of the vast majority of the American people.”
He said that he would spend the next few weeks speaking to groups and people who have supported the idea of an independent candidacy. “I’m not going away; I’m thinking about all my options,” he said.
Webb is aware that independent candidates have performed poorly in the past, but he believes that this time around will be different. “Because of the paralysis in our two parties, there is a time when conceivably an independent candidacy actually could win. And those are the questions we’re going to be asking,” he said.
Webb’s campaign has been interesting from the start. He began his run when he announced an exploratory committee in November 2014 along with a 14-minute straight-to-camera video, according to CNN. And he used a 2,000-word blog post to share his bid announcement with the world in July.
He was not an active presence on the campaign trail. And in the first Democratic debate, he repeatedly complained about his lack of air time instead of talking policy statements.
Webb is a decorated war hero who served in the Vietnam War; he was also secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan. He’s known for his critiques of U.S. foreign policy and strong support for American troops serving overseas. However, his views on taxes, gun rights and other social issues were more conservative than most Democratic candidates.