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Jim Webb Quits Democratic Primary but Hints at Independent Bid for President

Webb's campaign attracted little attention and inspired even less enthusiasm from voters, but the former Republican might still run as an independent candidate.

by VICE News
Oct 20 2015, 7:15pm

Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA

Jim Webb dropped out of the Democratic primary race on Tuesday, abandoning a long-shot push for the nomination that attracted little attention from the media and inspired even less enthusiasm from voters.

Webb did, however, suggest that he may not be quitting presidential politics, hinting at a possible independent bid.

"Our country is more important than a label," the former Virginia senator said during a news conference on Tuesday, where he announced his departure from the Democratic field.

A former Republican who won a Democratic Senate seat in 2006, Webb blamed extremism in both parties and the influence of big money for his failed bid. "Our political process is jammed up… it needs an an honest broker," he said. "This country needs a new dynamic."

He also criticized both parties for the divided political environment. "[The other party] is not the enemy," he said. "They are the opposition."

Webb's campaign barely registered on the national radar amid a contentious primary battle between frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. During the first presidential debate, Webb spent much of his time complaining about how little time he was given to speak.

Related: The GOP's Benghazi Kerfuffle Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time for Hillary Clinton

After declaring his candidacy in July in an online announcement, Webb made few public appearances and raised very little money. He struggled to crack 1 percent in the polls. VICE News tried repeatedly to contact Webb's campaign over the last months and nobody ever responded.

Webb's campaign team sent out a press release to the media before Tuesday's event titled "Jim Webb To Consider Independent Run." He made his announcement on Tuesday standing at a podium bearing a Webb 2016 poster, an indication, perhaps, that he planned to continue his campaign outside the Democratic party.

Republicans used Webb's announcement as an opportunity to hammer the Democrats for being too liberal. "With Senator Webb's departure, it's clear the Democrat Party is moving further to the extreme left and far away from mainstream Americans," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement to VICE News. "After all, a self-avowed socialist is the leading candidate of the Democrat Party in key early states and Hillary Clinton is flip-flopping on issue after issue just to keep up."

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