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Jim Webb pulls out of Democratic race, upsetting no one

Former Democratic and possible independent candidate for President, JIm WebbFormer Democratic and possible independent candidate for President, JIm Webb
Former Democratic and possible independent candidate for President, JIm WebbPhotograph by Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Jim Webb is out of the Democratic Primary, according to several reports, but he’s not necessarily out of the Presidential race. While the former Virginia Senator and Vietnam veteran is done going head to head with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, he is considering running for the White House as an independent.

Webb, a solid moderate who was once Republican President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy, has gotten very little traction in the Democratic contest. He frequently looked agitated and out of place during last week’s Democratic debate on CNN, complaining that he wasn’t getting enough time to make his case as moderator Anderson Cooper mostly talked to leading candidates Clinton and Sanders.

Not only has Webb struggled to gain support, but as NBC notes, he’s had a fairly bare-bones campaign staff without much of an infrastructure, and in early voting states like Iowa a strong ground game is crucial.

As for a Webb independent candidacy—calling that a long shot is an insult to long shots. As a Democrat, he hasn’t been able to poll above 1%, and the idea that he could launch a nationwide candidacy without the backing of the DNC is laughable.

There is a chance, of course, that he could pick up some support from more centrist Republicans, especially if a candidate like Donald Trump were to get the GOP nomination. Still, even playing a spoiler would be tough for someone with as little national recognition as Webb.