Gilmore moves on White House bid, touts ‘conservative leadership’
Former Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore III on Jan. 9 became the latest Republican to form an exploratory committee in advance of a potential 2008 White House campaign.
“Today, I filed the papers necessarytoexploreacandidacyforpresident because I believe that this nation needs conservative leadership,” Mr. Gilmore said. “Alone among those considering a candidacy for the Republican nomination, I have a record of real leadership as a tax cutter and job creator, as a leader on national security issues and as a national leader in our party.”
Mr.Gilmoreservedasheadofthe RepublicanNationalCommitteeand Republican Governors Association.
Sens.JohnMcCainofArizonaand Sam Brownback of Kansas; former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani;andformerGovs.MittRomneyofMassachusettsandTommyG. ThompsonofWisconsinareotherRepublicans who have formed exploratory committees.
“JimGilmoreisaformergovernor ofaveryimportantstatewithastrong conservative record,” said Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Mr. Gillespie said he is neutral on the field of Republicanpresidentialprimarycandidates.
Mr. Gilmore last year traveled to key primary states such as Iowa, NewHampshireandSouthCarolina. In August, a group of supporters started a Web site to encourage the formergovernortorunfortheWhite House.
A former Army counterintelligence agent, Mr. Gilmore served as governor from 1998 to 2002. From 1999 through 2003, he chaired the Gilmore Commission, which Congress created to assess the nation’s abilitytorespondtoaterroristattack.
The commission released a report one week before the September 11 attacks recommending a Cabinet-level office in the White House to combat domestic terrorism and improve cooperation between federal agencies and local law-enforcement authorities.
Mr. Gilmore is serving as chairman of the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness, a nonprofit organization working to strengthen homeland security efforts.
Skeptics of Mr. Gilmore’s presidential move say he is only increasing his profile in advance of a 2008 Senate campaign or a second run at Virginia’s governorship.
Mr.Gilmorewaselectedgovernor ofVirginiain1997afterpromisingto reducestatepropertytaxesandtaxes on motor vehicles. However, a 2001 recession led to a confrontation betweenMr.GilmoreandRepublicans inthestatelegislaturewhowantedto reverse his car-tax cuts.
That showdown helped the campaign of Mark Warner, a Democrat who went on to defeat Mr. Gilmore’s would-be successor Mark L. Earley.
James S. Gilmore III