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Webb to step down in 2012

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Jim Webb, D-Virginia, won't seek re-election in 2012
  • Webb narrowly defeated Sen. George Allen in 2006

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.