One former Virginia governor who’d spent a lot of time campaigning in Iowa made the surprise announcement earlier this month that he had decided not to seek the Democratic party’s presidential nomination in 2008. Another ex-Virginia governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, was in Iowa over the weekend holding out the possibility he might run for president himself.
“Well, I certainly haven’t told anybody that I’m making a challenge for the White House in 2008,” Gilmore said. “But I have encouragement from people around the United States to do that and also of course in my own state for a state office, for governor again or the United States Senate.” A Draft Jim Gilmore for President website has popped up on the Internet, and Gilmore has not only traveled to Iowa but South Carolina which hosts an early contest in the 2008 presidential campaign.
“For me, getting around the country to places like Connecticut, California, Iowa and South Carolina has been a great thrill,” Gilmore says. “I’m a person who has been around a lot. When I finished UVA, I joined the Army, trained in Arizona and was trained in the German language in California and then lived overseas in West Germany so I’ve been around a lot and I just get a real thrill out of visiting people all over the United States and I’m doing that right now.” Gilmore headed the Republican National Committee in 2001 and he says the G-O-P faces a “very great challenge” in 2006.
“Nationwide, the mood has not been running in favor of the Republican Party,” Gilmore says. Gilmore was governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002 and enacted a series of tax cuts, including a dramatic reduction in Virginia’s “car tax.” Gilmore was in Iowa over the weekend, campaigning with a Republican candidate for the state senate. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner announced on October 12th that he would not run for president.