Buying of the President

Published — July 2, 2015 Updated — October 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm ET

12 things to know about Jim Webb

Virginia Democrat enters 2016 White House race


Update, Oct. 20, 2015, 12:10 p.m.: Former Sen. Jim Webb has dropped out of the Democratic primary and announced he’ll consider running as an independent presidential candidate.

Former Sen. Jim Webb, who today announced his bid to become the Democrats’ presidential nominee, has been a dark horse before.

In 2006, Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy who had never occupied political office, ran for U.S. Senate in Virginia against former Sen. George Allen. Allen, a Republican, spent about twice as much as Webb. He was expected to easily win. But after a liberal campaign operative captured Allen using a racial slur, Webb pulled off an upset.

Webb is hoping for an even more unlikely upset — this time in a Democratic primary field dominated by Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee are also running.

Webb must demonstrate he can raise money to stay competitive. Here’s more on Webb’s political and financial history:

  • Former Sen. Jim Webb’s career political fundraising is about $9.65 million — a fraction of the cash he’ll need during his presidential bid.
  • The top industry that’s contributed to Jim Webb? Lawyers and law firms, which gave more than $750,000.
  • The top four ZIP codes for Jim Webb’s donors are all located in Virginia municipalities Arlington, McLean, Alexandria and Charlottesville.
  • Jim Webb raised about 85 percent of his money from individual contributions, not political action committees.
  • Jim Webb could be the most Hollywood president since Ronald Reagan. He’s written 10 books and got a story credit on “Rules of Engagement,” a movie that starred Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Jim Webb reported receiving about $15,000 in royalties in 2012, a personal financial disclosure indicates. He also earned $36,171 from his Writers Guild of America pension.
  • In 2012, Jim Webb disclosed owning dozens of stocks and mutual funds, including Apple stock worth between $100,000 and $250,000.
  • Jim Webb owed somewhere between $700,000 and $1.5 million in mortgage debt on three properties as of 2012, according to his latest personal financial disclosure.
  • Jim Webb came out of the gate early, announcing he was exploring a presidential bid back in November 2014, but said his decision would rest on whether he could raise enough money.
  • Jim Webb’s presidential exploratory committee has yet to file disclosures with election regulators, though now that he’s running, it will have to in July.
  • Jim Webb’s leadership PAC, the Born Fighting PAC, reported raising $6,360 between Nov. 25, 2014 — shortly after he declared he was exploring a presidential bid — and the year’s end.
  • Born Fighting PAC paid about $100,000 to Jim Webb’s wife and daughter — equal to about 10 percent of its income. A spokesman said the cash went toward “provable” work.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, as well as Business Insider, Center for Responsive Politics, Federal Election Commission, and U.S. Senate

Image sources: Cliff/Flickr, Nati Harnik/AP, Steve Helber/AP

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