Webb’s presidential run may turn into a third-party attempt


Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Carson Dugger

As one of the earliest candidates to enter the race for the Democratic candidacy for the 2016 election, Jim Webb appeared as a rough-and-ready ex-senator from Virginia who was ready to work on both sides of the aisle if he became president.

ISU political experts said Webb was too moderate in his approach to establish himself as a competent candidate and potential next leader.

He ended his run for the democratic nomination last week but has left the door open for an independent run.

According to polling from CNN, Webb’s highest rating peaked at just under 3 percent. A 1.2 percent rating is the last tally he marked before exiting the race.

Webb struggled connecting with liberal voters since his entrance in July of this year, said Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science.

“He is too conservative for most 2015 Democrats,” Schmidt said. “He is not charismatic and not a good speaker.”

Through his moderate political identity, Webb has floundered to find the support of liberal donors, raising a little more than $700,000 in the third quarter compared to the almost $30 million raised by front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Webb’s poor performance in the first debate spurred his dropout from the Democratic race for the presidency, said Mack Shelley, university professor of political science.

“He did not get much air time, and then when he was asked questions he used most of his allotted time complaining about not getting enough time,” Shelly said.

One of Webb’s favorable traits is his willingness and ability to work with liberals and conservatives alike to pass legislation. Because of this, he hinted at continuing his presidential run as an independent.

“Running as an independent probably won’t allow him to gain much more traction, although he could draw some support from Democrats who feel their party has veered too far in a progressive direction,” Shelley said.

Schmidt said this could be a challenge if Webb does not have a lot of money or big donors, but Webb said he is disillusioned with both parties and how they have drifted to the extremes.

As for now, Webb is lying low and talking with advisers about if he should run as an independent. A timeline for any announcement is not known.