WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb on Thursday announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for president, saying he understands the odds in pitting himself against frontrunners like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the presidency of the United States," he said in an announcement posted to his website.
"I understand the odds, particularly in today's political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money," Webb said. "I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars -- some estimates run as high as two billion dollars -- in direct and indirect financial support. We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."
Webb served one term as senator in Virginia, ousting incumbent Sen. George Allen in an upset victory in 2006. The senator, a Vietnam veteran who served as secretary of the Navy and assistant secretary of defense, has been vocal about his opposition to the Iraq war and military force in Libya.
"I warned repeatedly that this use of our military did not meet the test of a grave national security interest," he said in his announcement. "The attack in Benghazi was inevitable in some form or another."
A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday found Webb trails the pack of Democratic contenders among likely Iowa caucus participants. He has 1 percent of votes compared to Clinton's 52 percent and Sanders' 33 percent. O'Malley would have 3 percent of votes and 5 percent were undecided.