BURKE, VIRGINIA — Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat who also served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for the White House in 2016, making him the first candidate of either of the two major political parties to do so.
Webb, 68, announced the exploratory committee in a 14-minute video on his website, saying he had received encouragement from thousands of Americans to run for president in the upcoming election. “We desperately need to fix our country, and to reinforce the values that have sustained us, many of which have fallen by the wayside in the nasty debates of the last several years,” he said.
A number of politicians from both major political parties, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are considered to be potential candidates for the 2016 president election, but none of them have formed exploratory committees or officially announced their intend to run.
“I have decided to launch an Exploratory Committee to examine whether I should run for President in 2016,” Webb said. “I made this decision after reflecting on numerous political commentaries and listening to many knowledgeable people. I look forward to listening and talking with more people in the coming months as I decide whether or not to run.”
The Democrat said the country’s next president should be able to create an environment in which leaders from both major parties feel compelled to work together. “As one who spent four years in the Reagan Administration but who served in the Senate as a Democrat, I believe it is possible. It is also necessary,” he said.
Webb, from the state of Virginia, was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2006 and served until his retirement in January last year. He was frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, but Webb said he had no interest in the position, which later went to Senator Joe Biden.
Webb also served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan, first as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1984 until 1987 and then as Secretary of the Navy from May 1987 until February 1988.