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Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 02/10/2011

List of possible Democratic contenders for Webb's Senate seat lengthens

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

With no obvious successor for Sen. Jim Webb (D), who announced his retirement Wednesday, the list of possible Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate next year is growing -- and growing.

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, quickly became the first choice for many Democrats, but the former Virginia governor previously said he was not interested in running.

Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D) said that may change if President Obama asks him to run.

"The President needs to have Virginia in his camp next year,'' Wilder said. "Who is that person that can galvanize and bring support from the base? As Governor Kaine said before, you can't turn the President down."

Other potential candidates include two Democrats who lost their congressional seats in 2010 -- Reps. Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello.

Mame Reiley, a longtime Democratic consultant and Democratic National Committee member who worked for former governors Kaine and Mark R. Warner, said many prominent Democratic activists in Virginia are actively trying to recruit Boucher.

She said he could win because he would do well in Southwest Virginia, his home base, as well as Northern Virginia, where his work with technology issues would play well. She said she hopes to get Kaine and Warner to help recruit Boucher to the race.

"There are a lot of people who think Rick Boucher would be an ideal candidate,'' she said.

Perriello and former Rep. Glenn Nye, who was defeated in 2010, are attending the Virginia Democrats' annual black-tie Jefferson-Jackson dinner later this month -- feuling speculation they may be interested in getting back into politics.

Perriello is the favorite of many activists on the left; a "Draft Perriello" petition was already online and gaining signatures Wednesday. But some in the party privately argue that his profile is too liberal and his name not known well enough statewide to win.

Some Democrats also want former lieutenant governor Don Beyer to run. Obama appointed Beyer, a former Democratic lieutenant governor and a Northern Virginia car dealer, ambassador to Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein.

Terry McAuliffe, who ran for Virginia governor in 2009 and is considering another run in 2013, is not ruling out a run for Senate, according to his spokesman Levar Stoney.

"Today is not the day for speculating about the future,'' Stoney said Wednesday. "We should be recognizing Senator Webb for service to Virginia and the country. He is a true statesman with a sterling record."

Other names being mentioned are: Michael Signer, a national security expert from Arlington County who lost the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2009, Sen. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax), Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) and Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria).

By Anita Kumar  | February 10, 2011; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Election 2012, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, James Webb, Rick Boucher, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Terry McAuliffe, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello, U.S. Senate  
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Next: One in 10 Virginia lawmakers hold million-dollar investment portfolios


How about Joe Sestak running? Joe really lives in Virginia anyway, with his wife and kid. They've owned a house there for the past 12 years. Wife works in the area. Kid goes to school there.

Posted by: washingtonpost6 | February 10, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I would prefer Kaine over the potential names floated. VA did well under his policies and the state rose from being a joke for the rest of the nation as backwards southern redneck state to one that people take seriously. The job growth and innovation of No VA is amazing and this is after I've experienced living in Boston, NYC, and the south. I think that former Sen Allen would be a mistake and sort of going backwards. He was popular, but his gaffe showed us what he really thought about minorities and non-whites. I'm disappointed it happened, he seemed like an above average politician.

Posted by: mbacapitalist | February 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Why does this article suggest people who have LOST their races, or people who aren't doing well at their jobs? How does losing your local race make you capable of winning a statewide race?

Posted by: poliguru | February 13, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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