By Alex Pappas
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said Thursday afternoon he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, contrasting himself with Hillary Clinton by saying he would provide “leadership you can trust.”
“After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the presidency of the United States,” Webb wrote in a lengthy letter posted on his campaign website.
Even Webb acknowledges he enters the race as a long shot.
“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” he said.
In what could be seen as a contrast with Clinton, Webb said: “We need a president who understands leadership, who has a proven record of actual accomplishments, who can bring about bipartisan solutions, who can bring people from both sides to the table to get things done. And that leader needs to gather the great minds of our society and bring them into a new administration and give them direction and ask them to help us solve the monumental challenges that face us.”
Webb is the fifth Democrat to announce a presidential run. The others are Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Webb’s path to victory, and natural constituency, is unclear: on some issues, like war, he is positioned to the left of Clinton; on others, like guns and cultural issues, he is to her right.
Just last week, Webb irked liberals by penning a defense of those who memorialize the confederacy with the Confederate flag.
But he was welcomed into the race by the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who referenced his military experience.
“I welcome Jim Webb’s bid to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2016,” said DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Senator Webb has a long and distinguished record of service to his country, both in the Marines and in public office. His leadership on the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a sterling example of the Democratic commitment to ensuring the opportunities available for our veterans when they return home.”
The Daily Caller reported last week that Webb would enter the race soon.