By Gabriel Debenedetti
Democrat Jim Webb, the former Virginia senator, jumped into the presidential race with an email announcing his candidacy on Thursday afternoon.
“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” Webb wrote in the roughly 2,000-word email. “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.”
Webb is a long-shot for the nomination in a field dominated by Hillary Clinton, and which also features a surging Bernie Sanders — not to mention Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee. While Webb has traveled to early-voting states and begun to build a bare-bones political operation, he remains near the bottom of Democratic polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and nationwide.
“Our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us. We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process,” Webb wrote. “And at the same time our fellow Americans need proven, experienced leadership that can be trusted to move us forward from a new President’s first days in office. I believe I can offer both.
”The former Marine and Vietnam veteran who also served as secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan made his reputation in the Senate by railing against the Iraq war, and he resumed his opposition to foreign entanglements in the announcement letter, mentioning Iraq, Libya, Iran, and China.