Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb refuses to announce whether he will seek re-election, despite former Sen. George Allen’s decision to vie for the Republican nomination and the fact that Webb’s seat in the increasingly red-state commonwealth is considered a viable GOP 2012 target.
|Sen. Jim Webb
“We’re still talking about that, particularly inside my family,” Webb told CNN’s John King Tuesday. “It’s an eight-year commitment for us. People get excited about elections, but for us, it is eight years. I’ve said I’ll make a decision before the end of the first quarter — and we will.”
King asked Webb whether his delay could be costly, as the 2012 election might prove more contentious than his run in 2006, when he barely edged out Allen, who said Monday he will seek the GOP nod. In Virginia, Republicans took the governor's race in 2009 and lost three House seats in 2010.
“This is not’06,” King said. “If you look at the climate now, a lot of people think 2012 will not be as favorable to the Democrats, and Virginia will not be as favorable to the Democrats. And they say ‘Senator, if you want to keep this seat, you better get going.’”
Webb, who King noted is known to be reluctant to solicit campaign funds, responded: “I don’t want to be out asking people for money unless they can be certain that I am going to be using it for a campaign. I am not worried about the fundraising side; this is much more a personal, family decision.”
Asked whether, if he ran, he would do so as a Democrat or consider what might be a safer run as an independent, Webb said he has gone through that type of political soul-searching.
“I’ve already been on a journey in my life on this,” said Webb, who was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. “I'm very proud to have served in the Reagan administration. But in terms of the political values, when they're implemented properly, the Democratic Party is the party that I identify with.”
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