Webb Out. Now What?

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    Oh, wonderful.

    It has been a great and continuing privilege to serve in the United States Senate. I am very proud of my talented and dedicated staff, which has worked tirelessly to resolve the issues on which I based my candidacy, and to protect the interests of all Virginians in this national forum. Among other contributions we have given our Post- 9/11 veterans the best GI Bill since World War Two; we have taken the lead in reforming our criminal justice system; we have led the way toward stronger relations in East and Southeast Asia; and we have been a strong voice in calling on China to act more responsibly in the world community. We will continue to work on these and other issues throughout the rest of my term.

    However, after much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life, and will not seek re-election in 2012.

    Notwithstanding this decision, I have every intention of remaining involved in the issues that affect the well-being and the future of our country.

    First, thanks to Jim Webb for his service to our country over the course of his life, including the past 4 years in the U.S. Senate. Second, despite my differences with Webb on energy and environmental issues, I’m overall bummed – and surprised, as I really thought he’d end up running – to hear this news. Third, now we need to find a strong candidate to run in 2012; draft Tom Perriello (or will Tim Kaine end up running)? Fourth, I’ve really got to digest this…what do you all think?

    P.S. There are also rumors floating around, hopefully untrue, that this is why Kaine and Warner backed Brian Moran for DPVA chair. Supposedly, under at least one version of this theory – and I’ve heard numerous ones – Moran agreed that he’d go for a primary rather than a caucus, so that Tim Kaine had a better chance of beating Tom Perriello. I dunno, sounds incredibly Machiavellian to me, but you never know in politics I guess…

    UPDATE: One more thought for now — THANK YOU to everyone in Jim Webb’s “ragtag army,” you guys totally rock and should hold your heads extremely high for what you did in 2006. Now, it’s time to take that “army” and put it to work electing the best possible Democrat to the U.S. Senate from Virginia in 2012.

    UPDATE #2: Chris Cillizza writes, “It is [Tim] Kaine who may hold the key to Democrats’ hopes of holding the state.” Cillizza adds, “If Kaine sticks to his ‘no’, then Democrats will likely turn to former Rep. Tom Perriello…a favorite of the White House thanks to his willingness to vote for things like health care and the economic stimulus package despite the swing nature of his district.” If not Kaine or Perriello, then who? Cillizza mentions Rick Boucher and Gerry Connolly. Stay tuned…

    UPDATE #3: CNN reports, “Two former House members, though, appear very serious about the seat, according to conversations with various Virginia Democrats: former Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye.” Uh, let’s just put a stop to the latter rumor right now – absolutely NO to Glenn Nye. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

    • Johnny Longtorso

      I’d much rather have him than Kaine.

    • pontoon

      I was privileged to have Tom Perriello as my congressman and worked for him in his elections.  He is wonderful.  He is thoughtful.  He is knowledgeable.  He is ethical and honest and leaves no doubt where he stands on the issues.  However, I’m not sure that he is known well enough across the state to win.  If he runs, it sure would be an honor to work to elect him as our Senator!

    • I was also hoping that Webb would run again, and I don’t mind admitting that part of that is because it will be a lot more work to start over, even with a well known candidate (like Kaine) or building off of Perriello’s House seat.

      On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have someone from Virginia who actually WANTED to be in the Senate?  Who felt proud to be part of one of the greatest Legislative bodies in the world?  I’ll admit, I’m a little tired of hearing from Virginia Senators since John Warner how tedious and boring and “sea sluggish” the Senate is.  

      But my sincere thanks to Jim Webb, and his six years of public service.  After all, he did more good in six years then many Senators do in 12+.  And as Lowell says, TREMENDOUS gratitude to those who helped to put him into office in 2006!

      And let the game begin!

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      With this announcement, does Jim Webb place himself at the head of the pack to become Secretary of Defense when a change is made? We all know that Sec. Gates wants to get out.

      In spite of the admiration I have for Tom Perriello, he does not have the name recognition to run for state-wide office. That would pit a one-term congressman against Macacawitz. With Kaine – who I know would not be as good a potential senator – we at least have a known quantity with high name recognition. Kaine also can raise lots of money very easily.

      I absolutely buy into the theory that Jim Webb let Mark Warner and Tim Kaine know his intentions. It makes sense that Warner and Kaine put Brian Moran in as DPVA chair, but I don’t think that it was to insure a primary. After the debacle that the primary for governor was for Democrats in 2009, I can vouch for the fact that many, many party people want to stay away from a primary for the foreseeable future, especially since the GOPers can cross over and affect the results.

    • I’ve always been proud to call Jim Webb my Senator and my constituent in the 11th Congressional District of Virginia.

      I respect Senator Jim Webb’s decision to retire at the end of his term, but I daresay his presence and his common sense attitude will be sorely missed in the Senate.

      Throughout his extraordinary career as a decorated Marine, an outspoken Secretary of the Navy, an accomplished author, and a U.S. Senator, Jim Webb has proven his dedication to public service.  He is a true public servant who entered public service for all of the right reasons.

      Jim has been a strong advocate for our military and our military families in the Commonwealth.  He will always be remembered for his sponsoring, shepherding, and winning passage of the new GI Bill.

      Throughout his career as a Marine, Secretary of the Navy, an acclaimed author, and a U.S. Senator, Jim has never shied away from tackling the tough issues.  There are many examples, but one of the most recent is his support for reforming the criminal justice system.

      I’m confident that Jim Webb will continue to be involved in public service and remain a strong advocate for the dedicated military men and women, and their families, who make enormous sacrifices to protect our freedom.

      I thank Jim Webb for his service to our nation and our Commonwealth.

    • “Jim Webb is an American original.  He is a patriot, an intellectual, and a man who has devoted his life to serving our country. He has been a great working partner in the Senate and a strong advocate on issues of importance to Virginia.”

      “Few people in Washington command as much respect or have Jim’s credibility on national security and military issues, and the men and women in uniform and our veterans could not have a stronger advocate in Washington. Jim also has been a  leader in the national discussion about criminal justice reform.”

      “I am confident that he has several more chapters to write in what has been the remarkable story of his life.”  

    • NotJohnSMosby

      First, the selection of Moran for DPVA chair just to get a primary in a hypothetical case of Webb retiring was crazy.  I don’t think it ever came up, and the vast majority of Dems support primaries in general.  

      Second, while I do appreciate the job that Webb has done – and will do over the coming two years – he never came off, to me, as someone who appreciated being a Senator. I think he views it as a duty and obligation, a dirty job for the most part.  He’s always been ice cold when it comes to fundraising, attending others fundraisers, meet and greets – all the stuff that endears people to a candidate.  While he may have been willing to stay another six years, since the dirty job isn’t close to being finished, I think he simply had zero desire to spend the better part of a year attending fundraisers, political events, county fairs, festivals, walking in parades, stuff like that.

    • EUAS

      Jim Webb’s accomplishments in the Senate have far outweighed those of Allen(none)and Warner(unknown). While not the most engaging personality, Webb quietly became a leader within the Senate and will be sorely missed, not only by Virginians, but by millions throughout the country. As far as the future, I doubt that SecDef is in the cards. If anything, should Obama falter during the next two years, then…  Best wishes to Jim for a job well done!

      We have not seen the last of him.  

    • If only the Beltway media got to pick the candidate, Boucher would be a shoo-in!

      Funny how I’ve never heard a single Virginia Democrat mention him as a candidate for a statewide race, but the day Webb quits, he’s the first guy on the Beltway media’s tongue.

    • sallybee

      …I worry that it would be an uphill battle for him.  He was my congressman and if he was the Democratic nominee I would work diligently for him because he is the real deal.  He works harder than anyone. He is the finest politician I have ever encountered and told him this to his face.

      I know Tim Kaine is not on the top of everyone’s list here but let’s not throw him under the bus before we know who is interested in the seat.  If Kaine has the best chance of beating Allen, then that takes top priority.

    • Va Breeze

      would have traded him for Nye in a second and I think he will play well statewide!

    • Well, this is very disappointing.  A friend mentioned earlier that Webb hadn’t finished the work he set out to do, with regards to economic fairness and prison reform.

      But since we’re talking about what’s next, I remember that Webb didn’t have much name recognition either, so I don’t think that would hurt Perriello.  I’d certainly support Perriello over Kaine.

    • fishingincrisis

      If you believe like I do that Perriello is the best candidate we could run for that seat, help get the word out. Like the facebook page at http://on.fb.me/gAGBiz, follow @draftperriello on twitter, and get the ball rolling.

    • Virginia Democrats and all Virginians are incredibly fortunate that Jim Webb chose to put aside his personal life for over six years to serve Virginians in the United State Senate.  This is not the first time Jim Webb has made personal sacrifice for his country. As a matter of fact, his entire adult life has been about service and sacrifice, from his gallant service in Viet Nam to his tenure as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan to his service as our Senator.  Just as in the past, Jim Webb has not been afraid to stand up for what he thinks it’s right, regardless of whether it’s popular. His recent groundbreaking work on criminal justice has the potential to change our country for the better. His GI Bill is already changing the lives of our veterans. Jim Webb is the true embodiment of a patriot and I am proud and honored to call him my friend.

    • I respect Senator Webb’s service to our country and the very personal decision that he and his family have made.  I did not enter into this race to run against any one person, but to fight for the families of Virginia to improve their opportunities in life.  My campaign will continue to focus on achievable reforms that will help reinvigorate our economy, end reckless, runaway spending, and unleash our plentiful energy resources.

    • That is all.

    • Kaine isn’t the best for progressives but by far has the inside track given his recognition, generally positive term as governor and money raising abilities. Let’s hold powder until we see who throws in his hat in the next few months. If Tom P. cranks it up, there’s plenty of time to raise his profile, and he connects with moderate voters despite his stands. And let’s not forget what Lowell et al did with Webb.

      If Tim is challenged in a primary, that presents opportunities to push him to be more progressive. Win-at-all-costs folks would say that’s suicidal. Standing on principles didn’t kill off the Tea Party, did it? I can vote for a guy who’s not quite as progressive as I’d like, but…

      If Connolly runs, I’d work to defeat him. He was one of 60+ reps who vote for the Patriot law yesterday. He’s proving pretty gutless.

      Commonwealth Commonsense

    • Tom

      I just remembered when talk of Webb retiring first began a couple of months ago my first thought — right after the Health Care bill passed — was Gerry Connolly. He certainly has the statewide name recognition and is a seasoned politician who knows how to frame debates and knows what it takes to get things done in both houses of Congress.

      Also, Gerry is a legitimate moderate candidate, is very intelligent and sincerely enjoys “meet and greet” events, and his lovely wife has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to him and his campaigns when she serves as his surrogate at events and meetings that Gerry can’t attend because of schedule conflicts. Of course Gerry is also an amazing fund-raiser, so he has few negatives that would hurt him anywhere in the state.

      It will be most interesting to learn what each of the potential candidates do and say during the JJ weekend social events in Richmond leading up to and following the 19 Feb. JJ Dinner. I just wish I could be there to do some lobbying of my own for Gerry.

                               T.C.

    • VADEM

      I have moved to CA but am still interested in VA politics. I’m not sure Tom can beat Allan.

      Jane harmon is leaving too. I worry we will lose the Senate in 2012….

    • Catzmaw

      and look forward to seeing him working hard on his agenda for the next two years until the next election.  He’ll be a hard act to follow and I want to thank him for being the first person in a long time to get me really interested and invested in political activism.

      Forget Tim Kaine.  It’s not that I don’t like the guy, but he’s just not that impressive or dynamic in personality or achievement.

      This is the chance to get a young guy in there who could hold the seat for the next 4 or more terms, someone who’s shown he has guts and determination and is willing to take a hit to stand up for his principles.  You folks already know who I’m talking about.  Even though I’m not in Tom Perriello’s district I still followed his election and his last campaign with great interest.  He’s dynamic, articulate, well-educated, and has just the right combination of country bona fides and urban sophistication to be a great Senator.  

      He’s the one we want.  I wouldn’t lift a finger for Nye because that’s like voting for Republican lite.  I’d rather have a candidate who was not only unapologetic about his health care vote, but defended it with vigor.  No one put more time into town halls than Perriello, even when Tea Partiers tried to intimidate him and pundits told him he should backtrack on HCR.  

    • pontoon

      is up.  I didn’t do it, but am glad someone has.

    • (Really, the subject line says it all…)

    • JimWebster

      Notwithstanding my strong admiration for Tom Perriello, at least for the time being it seems that Tim Kaine has the better chance of beating Allen or whomever the GOP nominates. He has statewide name recognition and deeper experience.

    • Catzmaw

      Allen’s in trouble.  He’s got some serious opposition among the Tea Partiers who think he’s too establishment and others who think his time is past.  He’s going to have primary opponents who will drain his resources, something he DID NOT have when Webb was running against him.  Have we forgotten that back in 2006 Allen was so high in the Republican establishment he was short-listed as a potential Presidential contender?  That’s all gone now.  He’s trying to come back into Virginia politics after years of being away and he’s got opponents who don’t want to grant that ground back to him.  Who’s he going to hire to run his campaign?  Maybe Dick Wadhams?  Dick’s free … why?  Because he just quit his job in Colorado’s GOP due to there being too much crazy (i.e., tea partying) in the Republican party.  Even if he DOESN’T get involved in this campaign does anyone think our own home-grown Tea Party crazies (the types who cut propane lines and divulge candidates’ home addresses) are going to just step aside to let the candidate Dick supported represent THEM?

      It’s a whole new ballgame people.  We shouldn’t be worrying ourselves with the “safe” bet to win the Democratic primary.  We should be asking ourselves who we really WANT.  WHO’s going to get out there and fire up the base and excite the interest of those who just want someone intelligent who’s willing to listen to them and explain what he’s doing and who is uncharacteristically honest and straightforward and even blunt for a politician?

      “Tim Kaine”  There, I said it.  Anyone feeling fired up?  “Gerry Connolly”  “Glen Nye” – Getting that surge of “oh yeah!” yet?  

      There’s only one candidate out of this whole field who can actually excite and raise the base, and that’s Perriello.  He barely lost his last election and that was only because there was so much passion on the other side among people who’d been stirred up into a general “throw all the bums out” fever which disregarded whether the candidate had done anything good or not.  Maybe part of it was HCR, but Nye voted against HCR, didn’t he?  But he lost, too.  Why?  Because the tea party “let’s find someone new” hysteria was at its height.  Well that’s gone now.  Now we’re in the second month of a Republican dominated House which so far has devoted all of its time and energy to repealing health care and changing abortion rules and the definition of rape.  And our dynamic young President has emerged to high approval ratings and is playing the media like a harp, taking his game even to the Chamber of Commerce and rolling over them.  

      The time is NOW for a Democratic resurgence.  We need a candidate who will pick up the reins and inspire people to vote just as people were inspired to vote for Webb. We need to have a Virginia candidate who will garner those voters who will go for Obama.  Perriello has advantages we didn’t have with Jim Webb.  Webb hated the whole process of running for office while Perriello really doesn’t seem to mind.  Meeting with dozens of voters at a time was actually difficult for Webb and took him out of his comfort zone.  Perriello, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to get enough of talking to the people, in groups and one on one, because he wanted so much for them to understand what he was trying to accomplish.  Perriello has achieved national name recognition and won’t have much difficulty getting the big money behind him.  Many people across the country were impressed with him.  Perriello is quick on his feet and can respond to questions with ease.  A few debates with his Republican opponent, whoever it may be, would probably go his way.  

      I’m talking to the same people who poured their time and energy into a candidate who’d never before run for public office and got him a Senate seat, right?  He never wanted to be a politician and getting him to run was like pulling teeth, yet the ragtag army pulled it off and gave Virginia a great Senator.  Now we’ve got a guy who’s actually held public office and WANTS to be a politician as a potential candidate.  Let’s do it!

    • Paba

      First off, this is my first post here, so I’m not sure if there’s any sort of unwritten protocol that I’m breaking in this case.

      I don’t know if this blog identifies with the “netroots” or progressive activists exclusively or anything, but I’m one of the Dems everyone in the netroots warns you about. I don’t think single payer healthcare or even the “public option” is possible nor desirable, I’m skeptical of massive, all-at-once, comprehensive plans that don’t involve consensus, I can’t bring myself to ethically embrace elective abortion, I worry just as much if not more about the cultural impact of globalization and free trade as the impact it has on any other interest group, while I do believe that climate change is absolutely real, I will be the first person to jump up and castigate anyone who tries to pin the failure of politicians to address this on people who see coal as a part of their culture and lifestyle (as for the executives who employ members of UMW, that’s another story). I should mention that SW Va. and the Appalachians will always be home to me, no matter where I live.

      Rick Boucher took on the issues that many people thought didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to get on TV for a passionate speech in favor of rural broadband. He wasn’t going to go on Rachel Maddow to talk about abortion or gays in the military or the things that excite the netroots. But he does have the advantage of knowing what it’s like to come from the places (like Abingdon, VA) that progressives always claim to be about fighting for. I know people are going to bring up his ties to coal. The fact of the matter is this: someone had to be there in the discussions about climate change to ensure that as little as possible was done to disrupt the fragile economy of SW, which I agree has been exploited at times by coal, but is still culturally identified with that sector.

      I know Boucher isn’t going to get much support from  activists who want someone who’s as close to a Nancy Pelosi progressive (or, God forbid, and I know some of you might like him but he was the emblem of the type of progressive I really don’t like, an Alan Grayson shudder), but he knows what matters, he comes from a place that can’t help but remind you of the growing divide between rich and poor in America, and, speaking politically, can get more votes statewide than just the Obama voters (he’d still take a good chunk of SW and Southside, plus the urban areas).

    • h/t: The Shad Plank

      Senator Jim Webb has spent his life serving our Commonwealth and our country. As a young Marine he bravely served on the front lines in Vietnam. Later he served his nation in the Reagan Administration, including a stint as Secretary of the Navy. Most recently his public service has come in the field of politics, representing the people of Virginia as a United States Senator. He cares deeply about this nation, and our future. I applauded his leadership in passing the Post-9/11 GI Bill expanding education benefits to veterans. I greatly appreciated his partnership and leadership in addressing the proposed closing of Joint Forces Command. Jim Webb puts his country first, and I thank him for the public service he has long provided, while looking forward to the continuation of that service, albeit in a different capacity, in the years ahead. I wish him, his family and his staff the very bes

    • From his courageous service in Vietnam to his tireless work in the United States Senate, Jim Webb has dedicated his life to serving our nation and those who defend it.  Jim has been a relentless advocate for our veterans who helped to pass the post-9/11 GI Bill; a strong voice for American leadership in the world who strengthened our relationships in Southeast Asia; and a leading reformer who is improving our criminal justice system.  Michelle and I thank Senator Webb for his distinguished service, and I look forward to working with Jim over the next two years on behalf of Virginians and the American people.

    • va10honduras
      • dominic

        I think it will be an up hill battle for any of our potential candidates.  I think we should only start ruling out candidates now based on known scandals right now.

      • pontoon

        is a good guy, no doubt.  But he sat atop the DNC while Dems all across the country got their teeth kicked in last November.  Do I put the blame squarely at his feet, no, but he sure has to be held accountable for at least part of the extremely poor messaging that came out of the DNC for Democratic candidates.  Holding him accountable, in my opinion, does not include calling him back home to run for a Senate seat.

    • kindler

      …namely, pulling moderate to conservative votes from the establishment candidate (probably Kaine), leaving a greater share for a progressive candidate (hopefully Perriello).

      That said, once you set the billiard balls in motion, you can’t always predict where they’re going to drop!

    • corinthian

      One bit of good news is that this might open up the republican field wider. Pretty much every challenger thinks they’ve got better odds in an open seat than against in incumbent. Every dollar spent in the primary is a dollar that isn’t spent in the general, and every bit of dirt they dig up on each other is dirt we can use too.

    • RenaRF

      that no is discussing Brian Moran running for the open seat.

      • He’s the guy who infamously said, “There are people in my district who make $200,000 and they vote!” as a reason to vote against not extending the Bush tax cuts. Which was his way of saying that all the other folks who can’t get their roads fixed or find their libraries closed to suck it up because his contributors are unwilling to make sacrifices for the country.

        Commonwealth Commonsense

      • Catzmaw

        anyone outside of the Northern Virginia bubble in him, and even IN Northern Virginia he has mixed support.  Perriello has far better street cred in the sticks than Connolly.

    • h/t: Too Conservative

      I want to thank Senator Webb for his service to the Commonwealth of Virginia and our country. Senator Webb is a war hero and a patriot.

      Senator Webb’s retirement represents a great opportunity for Republicans to regain the seat in the United States Senate. While traveling Virginia this past year, I have been urged by many in the grassroots base of the Republican party, and those patriots in the tea-party to consider running for the United States Senate. As Chairman of the second largest county in Virginia, I have the type of profile that is needed to win in November of 2012. In order for a Republican to be elected statewide in Virginia, they must do well in Northern Virginia, and this is something that I have already demonstrated that I am able to do.

      As recent elections in Virginia have shown, Virginia voters are looking for proven leaders who share their support of less government and lower-taxes.

      My first priority is to the voters of Prince William County, who reelected me in 2007 to continue performing my duties as Chairman. Under my leadership, we have reduced spending by $143 million and cut tax bills to below 2007 levels. We have cracked down on illegal immigration and brought the crime rate down to a 15-year low.

      I am running for re-election as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. In the coming months, I look forward to continue to talk about kitchen table issues that every citizen of the Commonwealth cares about. Virginia conservatives deserve an electable candidate who can unite social conservatives who believe strongly in the sanctity of life, and fiscal conservatives who are fed up with reckless spending in Washington