WASHINGTON — Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said Tuesday he is dropping out of the Democratic race for president and is considering his options about how he might "remain as a voice" in the campaign.
Webb said at a news conference that he is "withdrawing from any consideration" of becoming the Democratic Party's nominee and would spend the coming weeks exploring his options about a possible independent bid.
"The very nature of our democracy is under siege due to the power structure and the money that finances both political parties," Webb said, joined by his wife, Hong Le Webb. "Our political candidates are being pulled to the extremes. They're increasingly out of step with the people they're supposed to serve."
Webb said many of the issues that he cares about are not in line with the hierarchy of the Democratic Party. Asked if he still considers himself a Democrat, Webb said, "We'll think about that."
If Webb chose to run as an independent, he would face long odds in raising enough money and building a strong enough organization outside of the two-party system to get on the ballot in all 50 states. Outsider candidates have struggled to amass broad support in the past: Ross Perot got 19 percent of the vote in 1992 and 8 percent in 1996. Ralph Nader got 3 percent of the vote as a Green Party candidate in 2000 but garnered enough liberal support in Florida to prevent Democrat Al Gore from carrying the state and winning the presidency.
Webb, 69, has raised only about $700,000.