By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, USDR.
Former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore has he is running for President. Last week I just got off the phone with him and he told me that was his intention. I knew this was likely since last November, when he was a guest on my program, the Price of Business show.
During that interview, which he came on to discuss the “pro-growth” economic strategy of the organization he was representing, the Free Congress Foundation. This organization, once a bastion of social conservative causes under the leadership of the late Paul Weyrich, changed its focus under Gilmore.
During the interview it seemed to make perfect sense to me to ask Gilmore about the many candidates last year who were making it clear they intended to jump in. He immediately contrasted the unique set of skills that a former governor has to take over the nation’s chief executive office and contrasted that to the “grand standing” that is so typical of US Senators. He went on to say that he had not seen “at this point” anyone he was happy with that is “probably going to grow the economy.” He went on to say, clearly in the language of a candidate, that “I’ve determined that 2016″ will be about promoting a program to increase wages and to stimulate economic growth and that he was going to do everything he personally could do top pursue that agenda. I knew instantly, upon hearing that, he intended to run, but at the same time such seemed ludicrous.
It has been well over a decade since Gilmore served one term as Virginia’s governor. Unable to run for reelection because of the state’s constitution prohibiting consecutive terms, Gilmore worked in various capacities in helping GOP candidates and causes. In 2008 he made his first failed attempt of running for President. Gilmore said he represented “the Republican wing of the Republican Party” in the race for the nomination; the comment was a page from a slogan used by Howard Dean when seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2004 election (who in turn took that slogan from the late Senator Paul Wellstone).
After raising only slightly more than $170 in the first quarter and after only 3 months campaigning, Gilmore withdrew from the race without facing a single primary or caucus.
The big question, with the largest number of GOP candidates in a primary in modern history (and maybe ever), what motivates Gilmore to run today? It is not like there are not others with similar experiences. Governors (former and active) seem to be dominating the lot.
Following my phone conversation, I had Gilmore on my radio show. He believed was that there was a huge void in the leadership abilities of his opponents. Gilmore believes that America needs a leader that is the “complete package.” He believes that his leadership as a fiscally conservative governor in Virginia, and that his work in Army intelligence, gives him the domestic and foreign policy experience that was certainly needed. Hear that interview in its entirety here:
There is serious doubt about the potency of Gilmore’s candidacy. He raised very little in 2008 with much less competition. Nonetheless, it is impossible to have a conversation with Gilmore without realizing that he is a serious candidate. He is highly intelligent and very competent. It will be interesting to see if those strong traits even show up in this very odd political season.
Here is the governor’s actual announcement: