First-term Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia announced today he will retire instead of seeking re-election in the 2012 election cycle. The news is good for pro-life advocates upset with his pro-abortion voting record.
Webb made his announcement in an e-mail saying, “after much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life, and will not seek re-election in 2012.”
“It has been a great and continuing privilege to serve in the United States Senate,” Webb said. “I am very proud of my talented and dedicated staff, which has worked tirelessly to resolve the issues on which I based my candidacy, and to protect the interests of all Virginians in this national forum.”
Democrats now have to find a candidate to run in his place while Republicans already have a top-tier candidate in former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen, who generally opposes abortion, and has announced his intention to reclaim the seat he lost to Webb in 2006.
National Democratic Party Chair Tim Kaine, the former Virginia governor, has already said he would not run for the seat should Webb decide to retire but then told Politico he “hasn’t shut the door on the possibility.” Though self-identifying as pro-life, Kaine’s record indicates a pro-abortion position.
Former Rep. Tom Perriello, former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and former Gov. Douglas Wilder — all off whom are pro-abortion — are possible contenders for the Democratic nomination.
About Webb’s abortion record, LifeNews.com political reporter Andrew Bair noted: “Webb did not cast one pro-life vote in his term, instead voting to mandate taxpayer funding of abortion and to expand harmful embryonic stem cell research. Senator Webb also voted for the DISCLOSE Act, which would have penalized grassroots organizations like pro-life groups for speaking out about politicians’ positions.”
Bair believes Allen will have a good chance of re-capturing the seat.
“Despite electing pro-abortion Senator Webb and voting for pro-abortion President Obama, Virginia leans Republican. In 2009, Virginians elected Governor Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Gov,” he said. “Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, all strongly pro-life Republicans endorsed by Virginia Society for Human Life PAC. In 2010, a number of pro-life Republican challengers defeated pro-abortion Democratic incumbents, including long-time pro-abortion Representative Boucher.”
“Flipping this seat from pro-abortion to pro-life is certainly an attainable goal and will be vitally necessary in achieving a pro-life majority in the US Senate,” he said.
Though Allen is largely seen as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, some Tea Party activists are rallying behind Jamie Radtke, a mom and Virginia Tea Party organizer. Thus far on the campaign trail, she has not vocalized her position on the right to life. Other potential GOP candidates include state Delegate Robert Marshall and Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.