It was back in November of 2014 when former Virginia Senator Jim Webb formed his Presidential exploratory committee. Such a move is a common precursor to launching a formal bid for the Presidency. While most prospective candidates choose to get out on the trail as the committee does its work (specifically in places like Iowa and New Hampshire), Webb has been noticeably absent over the past several weeks -- to the extent that most people were probably unaware that he was still entertaining the idea of running (let alone seeking the nomination).

His announcement -- via his campaign website -- comes a day after Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton announced that her campaign had raised $45 million dollars from donors over the last quarter. Clinton not only has a head start, but she's also polling far better than both her Democratic and Republican peers (according to a recent CNN poll).

To call Jim Webb an underdog is probably an understatement.

And, based on his campaign announcement, Webb knows the odds are against him.

“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money. I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars – some estimates run as high as two billion dollars – in direct and indirect financial support.”

Webb’s Facebook page includes the phrase, “I heard my country calling” and with today’s formal announcement, political observers will be watching the polls closely to see if Webb appeals to some Democratic voters who may be supporting Clinton by default thus far.

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Webb is a decorated Vietnam Veteran who also served as Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration. He served one-term as a Senator from Virginia (2007-2013). In a move that surprised many at the time, Webb did not seek a second term.

Webb’s time in the Senate was not without some controversy -- most notably, a November 2006 exchange with President George W. Bush. As was recorded by many News outlets at the time, Webb had a terse response to Bush when the President asked about Webb’s son (who was an active US Marine engaged in combat operations in the Gulf).

Although Webb has an extensive military background that includes not only his decorated combat service, but also time as faculty at the Naval Academy, he's not the hawk some might assume. Webb was a vocal critic of both Bush administrations during the first Persian Gulf War and the War in Iraq.

His proposed approach to foreign policy -- specifically how and when to use US military forces -- could be a key differentiator for Webb.

As articulated on his website, “First and foremost, if a President wishes to conduct offensive military operations, he – or she – should be able to explain clearly the threat to our national security, the specific objectives of the operations, and the end result he or she wishes to obtain.”

His position here is a clear criticism of how military forces have been deployed over the past two decades.

Moreover, Webb is clear in stating that he would not have supported the invasion of Iraq or the use of US air power over Libya. If the issue becomes key to the public discourse, this could be an opportunity for Webb to appeal to both Democrats and Independents who've disapproved of the Obama Administrations' intervention in foreign affairs (particularly the expansion of drone strikes).

By contrast, Hillary Clinton has defended the use of drone strikes as a legitimate and necessary military offensive during the Obama Administration. Her position is well documented in her own memoir, Hard Choices.

Even if Webb can successfully distinguish himself from the Democratic frontrunner, getting that message to the Democratic faithful will be costly. As the well-oiled Clinton machine continues to build momentum, Webb’s team has to figure out a way to stay relevant in this David and Goliath-esque bid for the Democratic nomination.

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