Ben Pershing of the Washington Post reports:
Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) has announced that he will not run for reelection in 2012.
Webb's decision, long anticipated by many in Virginia politics, will make his seat more difficult to hold for his party. Ex-Sen. George Allen (R), who lost the seat in 2006 to Webb, is running to win it back, and a handful of other GOP candidates are also running. Jamie Radtke (R), former chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, is also running for the seat.
Some Democrats hope ex-Gov. Tim Kaine will decide to run for the seat, but he has given no indication yet that he is interested.
This is a huge development. Webb would have had a tough race to win re-election, but would have been a slight favorite due to incumbency, his military background in a state with a large number of active duty military and veterans, and Obama's ability to attract African American voters to the polls (20% of the electorate).
George Allen, who was beaten by 9,000 votes by Webb in 2006 , due in large part to his "macaca" gaffe, has announced he will run for his old seat, and Webb's departure will likely encourage others to join the race. This now moves from tossup to leans Republican. Virginia is a purple state, that started moving towards the Democrats in 2006 and 2008 (Obama was the first Democrat to win the state since Lyndon Johnson), but shifted back towards the GOP in 2009 and 2010. Tim Kaine would be the strongest Democratic nominee, but his national exposure as head of the DNC detracts from his moderate image as Governor (he has had to defend cap and trade, health care reform, the auto bailouts, the stimulus packages).
Ed Lasky adds:
One more Blue Dog Democrat departure. The moderates are leaving: Lieberman, Harman, Webb. With the collapse and bankruptcy of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, the retention of Nancy Pelosi as the leader of House Democrats, the Democrats are isolating themselves on the very blue end of the spectrum. That is how Americans will view the party. While the rest of the nation moves towards the center or center right, they are moving contrary to the will of the people.
While the DLC closes its doors, Media Matters, MoveOn.Org, The Center for American Progress, and the Democracy Alliance are flourishing.
They are becoming the party of the unions (including public employee unions), greenies, the radical rich (George Soros, Peter Lewis, and the like), other special interests groups. They are moving contrary to recent history; how progressive is that approach?