First Potential Democratic Challenger To Hillary Clinton Forms Exploratory Committee

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Jim Webb, the former Democratic senator from Virginia, is the first potential primary challenger to Hillary Clinton to throw his hat into the ring.

Webb — who would likely present himself as a populist, anti-war alternative to Clinton — announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee late Wednesday on his website.

“Over the past few months thousands of concerned Americans from across the political spectrum have urged me to run for President,” Webb said in a video posted online. “A constant theme runs through these requests. Americans want positive, visionary leadership that they can trust.”

In September, Webb — a Vietnam veteran and former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan — acknowledged his interest in a White House campaign during an anti-war speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions among people that I respect and trust about the future of the country,” Webb said then. “And we are going to continue having these discussions over the next four or five months, and I’m seriously looking at the possibility of running for president. But we want to see if there’s a support base for people who would support the programs that we’re interested in pursuing.”

Mudcat Saunders, the longtime Southern political hand who helped get Webb elected to the Senate in 2006, told The Daily Caller after that speech that his old boss is the kind of Democratic presidential candidate that can actually appeal to the working class.

“He’s regal, almost,” Mudcat Saunders said. “And I’m not talking about in the sense of a King Arthur or that type of regal. He’s redneck regal. He really is.”

While Clinton, the former Secretary of State who has not formally announced her plans yet, is the clear favorite of Democrats, Webb did not mention her by name in his video.

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