Jim Webb Enters Dem Prez Field

The Democrat field for the 2016 presidential election just got a bit more crowded as former Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced his candidacy on Thursday.

Webb faces off against former First Lady Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.

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“After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the Presidency of the United States,” Webb said during his speech. “I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money. I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars – some estimates run as high as two billion dollars – in direct and indirect financial support. Highly paid political consultants are working to shape the “messaging” of every major candidate.”

Webb offers an interesting and varied background. On his campaign site he describes himself as: “Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of ten books.”

Webb focused on overhauling the criminal justice system as well as the tax code in his speech. Despite his military background — or perhaps because of his actual experience with combat — Webb is more of a dove than a hawk. He’ll be able to take positions to both the right and left of the current pool of candidates. In a way, his mix of positions and connections to the Ronald Reagan administration could paint him as a moderate and attract Blue Dog Democrats and moderate Republicans. If it comes down to “base purity” Webb will not pass the test for either party’s bases.