Washington (CNN) -- Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a second term in 2012 -- likely bolstering Republican chances of capturing the seat next year.
Webb, also a decorated military veteran and former Navy secretary, was narrowly elected over then-incumbent Sen. George Allen in 2006. Allen has indicated his intention to run for the seat again.
"However, after much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life," Webb said. "Notwithstanding this decision, I have every intention of remaining involved in the issues that affect the well-being and the future of our country."
Democrats are defending 23 seats in 2012, compared to 10 GOP seats.