First term Democratic Sen. Jim Webb (VA) will not seek re-election, he announced in a statement today.
"After much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life, and will not seek re-election in 2012. Notwithstanding this decision, I have every intention of remaining involved in the issues that affect the well-being and the future of our country."
Webb, the former Navy Secretary in the Reagan Administration, was the sole Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to vote on May 27 2010 against adding the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Washington Post adds:
Webb's decision, long anticipated by many in Virginia politics, will make his seat more difficult to hold for his party. Ex-Sen. George Allen (R), who lost the seat in 2006 to Webb, is running to win it back, and a handful of other GOP candidates are also running. Some Democrats hope ex-Gov. Tim Kaine will decide to run for the seat, but he has given no indication yet that he is interested.
It looks like it will be more difficult for the Democrats to retain their Senate majority. Of the 33 Senate seats up for re-election in 2012, 23 are held by Democrats.