October 20, 2015 / 12:39 AM / 4 years ago

Democrat Webb weighing possible independent bid for White House

(This October 19 story has been corrected to make clear that Nader ran as the Green Party candidate, not as an independent, in paragraphs 8-9)

U.S. democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Jim Webb speaks during the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Alana Wise

(Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb is considering an independent bid for the White House, and will hold a news conference about his candidacy on Tuesday, his campaign said on Monday.

Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia, has lagged behind front-runner Hillary Clinton and her chief rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in opinion polls, along with former Maryland Governor Marin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee.

Webb’s campaign announced the news conference at the National Press Club in Washington with a short statement headlined “Jim Webb To Consider Independent Run.”

In addition to his candidacy, Webb will discuss “the campaign and his views of the political parties in the current (2016) election cycle,” the statement said.

His campaign did not respond to email or phone requests for further details.

The Democratic National Committee, which governs the party, declined to comment ahead of Webb’s announcement.

Webb had a shaky showing in the first Democratic candidates’ debate last week. Real Clear Politics, a website that aggregates polling data showed him with just over 1 percent average support in polls from late September to Oct. 18.

If Webb decides to run as neither a Democrat nor a Republican, he would not be the first.

In 2000, for example, consumer advocate Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party’s candidate. Many believe his unsuccessful bid enabled former Republican George W. Bush to win the White House in a close race against Democrat Al Gore for the White House.

In 2004 and 2008, Nader again launched runs outside the two-party system, calling Washington “occupied corporate territory,” and losing in both cases.

Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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