Former U.S. senator and author Jim Webb has joined the roundtable of presidential candidates eyeing the White House in 2016. The 69-year-old Democrat, who served one term in the Senate, representing Virginia from 2007 to 2013, and was secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, announced his decision Thursday in a post on his campaign website.
“After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the Presidency of the United States,” the post reads. “I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money … But our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us.”
— Jim Webb (@JimWebbUSA) July 2, 2015
Webb is the fifth Democrat to enter the 2016 presidential race for his party. He joins former secretary of state Hillary Clinton -- far and away the Democratic front-runner -- Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont, former Maryland governor Marin O’Malley and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee.
While not a high-profile contender, Webb was the first Democrat to form a presidential exploratory committee in November 2014 and has since held events in Iowa and other early voting states, a move that surprised many of his fellow party members. "A strong majority of Americans agree that we are at a serious crossroads," Webb wrote in a message posted to his campaign website on Nov. 19. "In my view, the solutions are not simply political, but those of leadership. I learned long ago on the battlefields of Vietnam that in a crisis, there is no substitute for clear-eyed leadership."
Some have speculated whether Webb’s running could affect Clinton’s position as the pack’s leader. Webb, a former Marine and medaled war hero, doesn’t have nearly as strong ties with Democratic donors, nor does he have as deep a bond with Washington, but he has positioned himself as a fierce opponent of Wall Street and has disputed recent U.S. military involvement overseas, which could make him popular with the Democratic base, according to CBS News.