Speculation Heats Up on 2012 After Sen. Jim Webb Announces Retirement
NOVA Tea Party spokesman said that members not necessarily behind Tea Partier Jamie Radtke's bid for seat.
U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) announced this week that he won't run again in 2012, leaving open speculation about who will run and who can win that Senate seat.
"...after much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life," Webb said in a statement. "Notwithstanding this decision, I have every intention of remaining involved in the issues that affect the well-being and the future of our country."
The only declared candidates at this time are former U.S. Senator George Allen (also a former governor of Virginia), and Jamie Radtke, a Tea Party member and mother of three from the Richmond area.
Daniel Cortez, spokesman for the Northern Virginia Tea Party, said he was not surprised by Webb's announcement. "I respect him tremendously, he's not a career politician," he said of Webb.
Cortez said that it was his personal opinion that Radtke might not have enough experience to win a U.S. Senate seat. "It came as a surprise to me that she announced, that she would shoot for the top," he said. "Jamie has done some good things, but who is the best candidate to run against Tim Kaine?"
Tim Kaine, former governor of Virginia, is currently chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He has said in the past, amid speculation that Webb might not run again, that he liked his current job and would not run for the U.S. Senate. But pundits are predicting that President Obama will want a strong Democrat running in Virginia, which has become known as a "purple" state because some elections go Republican (red) and some go Democrat (blue).
In a statement about Webb's retirement, Kaine would only say: "Over the past decade, we’ve made major progress in turning Virginia from a solidly Republican state to a highly competitive one, including Senator Webb’s victory in 2006, Senator Warner’s victory in 2008, and President Obama’s historic victory in 2008," Kaine said. "With the investments that President Obama and the Democratic Party will make in Virginia in 2012, I am confident that our party will hold on to this Senate seat in 2012.”
Radtke reacted to Webb's announcement with one of her own, a quick punch at opponent Allen:
"Now with the open seat, Virginians can choose between a new generation of principled conservative leadership or a return to a thirty-year politician who helped put America in our current mess."
“Twelve years ago George Allen ran for U.S. Senate pledging to work for a balanced budget, to reduce spending and to reduce the debt. Then Mr. Allen went to Washington and voted for spending measures that increased our national debt by $3.1 trillion and voted for $90 billion in earmarks. Now, 12 years later, George Allen is making the same promises again.
Her full statement is here:
George Allen also issued a statement:
“I respect Senator Webb’s service to our country and the very personal decision that he and his family have made. I did not enter into this race to run against any one person, but to fight for the families of Virginia to improve their opportunities in life. My campaign will continue to focus on achievable reforms that will help reinvigorate our economy, end reckless, runaway spending, and unleash our plentiful energy resources."
Other Democratic candidates who could toss their hat in the ring include Terry McAuliffe, former chair of the DNC, who lost a bid for governor. The Falls Church News Press published a story last month by Nicholas Benton headlined "Is It McAuliffe to the Rescue?" speculating that he might run for the Senate seat.
On the Republican side, pundits talk about Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) in his seventh term for Virginia's 13th District. Marshall ran for Republican Sen. John Warner's seat in 2008 but lost to Jim Gilmore in the Republican primary. That Senate seat is now occupied by Mark Warner (D).