As Jeb Bush announces the launch of a presidential campaign that has been all but official for months, Jim Webb is still openly wrestling with whether or not to run in the Democratic primary next year.
“We’re going to make a decision within the next two weeks,” the former Virginia senator told an Iowa radio host Monday morning. “The decision point is — can we put together a viable campaign without having to fall into this financial campaign funding process which I think is damaging to the country?”
Webb is back in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday, touring a wind farm and holding events around the Des Moines area.
Since launching an exploratory committee last fall with a low-budget Web video, Webb has acknowledged that he might not be able to raise the funds to compete on the national stage. He has been dipping in and out of early states while retreating from the trail for long stretches. He has gone through two Iowa operatives since he began considering a bid.
But he told Des Moines’ WHO Radio that the huge audience that turned out to see Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa this past weekend was a sign that some Democratic voters were “uneasy” with their choices and “looking for a different form of leadership.”
Unlike Sanders, who this weekend went after Hillary Rodham Clinton for avoiding a clear position on a major free trade deal with Asia, Webb has avoided directly criticizing the former secretary of state. However, he agrees with Sanders and fellow Clinton opponent Martin O’Malley that the plan should not be fast-tracked through Congress.
“We need to see in writing what it is that the country is supposed to be approving,” he said of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.