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Jim Webb Joins Democratic Field in Presidential Race

Sen. James Webb of Virginia


John Burger - published on 07/03/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Hillary Clinton has a new challenger in former senator and Navy secretary

For weeks, Hillary Clinton has had little competition for the limelight in the race for the Deomcratic nomination for president. But now, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has joined that race.

Webb, a former Marine and former secretary of the Navy, announced his campaign for president Thursday, according to CNN

Webb becomes the fifth Democrat to throw his hat in the ring in the 2016 contest, announcing his candidacy on social media. 

"We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process," Webb wrote on his website, explaining why he wants to run. "Our elected officials need to get back to the basics of good governance and to remember that their principal obligations are to protect our national interests abroad and to ensure a level playing field here at home."

Fox News says Webb is considered a moderate-to-conservative Democrat who supports gun rights and is strong on defense:

Webb … chided both parties on national security. He said he would not have advocated the Iraq war or used military force in Libya during the Arab Spring.

"I warned repeatedly that this use of our military did not meet the test of a grave national security interest," he said, adding: "The attack in Benghazi was inevitable in some form or another." 

But he said he "would make it clear to our friends and our potential adversaries that we will retain vigorous relationships with our treaty partners and our allies, and that we will meet and defeat any international terrorist movement that threatens our national security."

Webb cited his military experience as well as his domestic policy record in the Senate.

Like other Democrats, Webb has "evolved" on the issue of marriage. When he ran for the Senate from Virginia in 2006, he said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman, but he did not support the state constitutional amendment that defined it as such.

Last fall, however, he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was comfortable with “the evolution” on the issue in public opinion and in the courts.

“I think this has been a good thing for the country,” he said.

On the life issues, he has a 0% rating from National Right to Life and a 100% rating from NARAL Prochoice America. 

A graduate of the US Naval Academy, Webb fought in Vietnam, but after an injury sustained there, he retired from the Marine Corps. He earned a law degree at Georgetown. 

Webb, 69, is married to Hong Le Webb, a Vietnamese-American attorney. They have an 8-year-old daughter, and he is stepfather to a daughter she has from a previous marriage. Webb has four grown children of his own from two previous marriages. Webb speaks Vietnamese. 

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