Today's announcement comes in plenty of time for the Democrats to find a suitable candidate to run against either of the two announced GOP candidates -- George Allen or Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke. With the incumbent retiring after one term, don't be surprised to see more Republicans jump into the race.
As far as the Democrats go, the names being floated around include Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe and Tom Perriello. Soon others will probably emerge. Perhaps a long-shot to consider is Mike Signer; click here to read about him.
Webb's announcement -- which comes as no surprise to me -- puts the Virginia senatorial race in the national spotlight, where it will probably stay from here on.
George Allen released the following statement about Webb's decision:
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.By the way, on Dec. 31 SLANTblog said we will not see an Allen vs. Webb rematch. Now for another fearless prediction: George Allen will not be elected to serve in the U.S. Senate again.
Updates: Waldo Jaquith's savvy take on Webb's announcement is here.