For those who hoped to see a rematch in Virginia of the 2006 Senate race that pitted Democrat Sen. Jim Webb against former Gov. George Allen, disappointment abouts Wednesday with Webb's announcement that he won't run again.
Some observers had guessed that the feisty Webb might run, seeing re-election as a personal challenge after Allen's recent announcement that he was seeking re-election.
But Webb, a former Reagan Administration Navy Secretary had raised very little money for a 2012 re-election bid which suggested to some that he was leaning against a run.
Webb's decision to be a one-and-done senator leaves raises the likelihood of a clash of Virginia titans between Allen and another former popular governor, Tim Kaine.
Kaine, who heads the Democratic National Committee, hasn't said publicly that he's in. But it means he will have a lot more pressure placed on him to enter the race in order to give Democrats a better chance of holding onto the seat and maintaining their slim hold on the Senate.
In a statement. Webb said:
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Five years ago this week, on February 8, 2006, I announced my intention to run for the United States Senate. We had neither campaign funds nor a staff. We were challenged in a primary, and trailed the incumbent in the general election by more than 30 points in the polls.
Over the next nine months we focused relentlessly on the need to reorient our national security policy, to restore economic fairness and social justice, and to bring greater accountability in our government. I will always be grateful for the spirit and energy that was brought into this campaign by thousands of loyal and committed volunteers. Their enthusiasm and sheer numbers were truly the difference in that election.
It has been a great and continuing privilege to serve in the United States Senate. 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. Among other contributions we have given our Post- 9/11 veterans the best GI Bill since World War Two; we have taken the lead in reforming our criminal justice system; we have led the way toward stronger relations in East and Southeast Asia; and we have been a strong voice in calling on China to act more responsibly in the world community. We will continue to work on these and other issues throughout the rest of my term.
However, 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.
Notwithstanding this decision, I have every intention of remaining involved in the issues that affect the well-being and the future of our country.