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Jim Gilmore

Out of the running Last modified: February 12, 2016

Jim Gilmore is the former governor of Virginia, elected to a single four-year term in 1997. (Virginia does not allow its governors to serve consecutive terms.) He also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee for one year, and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. He officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 nomination in August of 2015.

Gilmore ran for governor as a tax-cutting conservative and has been a voice for smaller government and free markets. He is also a former Army intelligence officer and has made the increasing international instability a cornerstone of his campaign. For the last several years he has been president of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank.

He began his campaign hampered by low name recognition, something he has been largely unable to overcome in a crowded field filled with candidates with more recent credentials and accomplishments. After being invited to the first “undercard” debate for low-polling candidates, Gilmore failed to qualify for the next five events, only making the early state again for the late-January event. His relatively low-key demeanor and mediocre communications skills add to his challenges.

Gilmore currently does not register any support in national polls or polls in the key early states, and his fundraising has been negligible – as of the end of December he had raised less than $200,000. He has failed to qualify to be on the ballot for most of the primaries and caucuses, and although Gilmore is known for his perseverance, it is unlikely he will be able to rise from the bottom to even make a noticeable impression on the 2016 Republican nominating contest.

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James Stuart “Jim” Gilmore III was born in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 6, 1949. His mother, Margaret Evelyn Kandle Gilmore, worked as a church secretary and his father, James Stuart Gilmore, Jr., was a grocery store meat cutter.

After graduating from John Randolph Tucker Public High School in Richmond, he earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1971. While there, Gilmore was a member of the College Republicans and the Jefferson Literary & Debating Society.

Gilmore enlisted in the U.S. Army following his graduation from UVA and served in military intelligence. After leaving the Army in 1974, Gilmore attended law school at the University of Virginia, graduating in 1977. From there, he joined and became partner in the firm of Benedetti, Gilmore, Warthen and Dalton.

In 1987 he won elected office for the first time as the Commonwealth’s attorney for Henrico County. He was re-elected to the post in 1991. In 1993 he was elected Virginia’s attorney general. He resigned as attorney general in 1997 to run for governor, beating the Democratic lieutenant governor by a margin of 56-43 percent. He was propelled to victory largely on two promises: (1) reducing and eliminating Virginia’s car tax, and (2) hiring 4,000 new public school teachers.

While governor he chaired two congressional advisory commissions, one on electronic commerce and the other assessing the risk of a terrorist attack in the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction. He served as chairman of the Republican National Committee during the last year of his term as governor, resigning in January 2002 over disagreements with the George W. Bush administration.

The Virginia Constitution prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms, so Gilmore was unable to stand for re-election in 2001.

In January 2007, he announced his candidacy for president of the United States. In the face of low fundraising and poll numbers, Gilmore ended his campaign in July 2007, and later that year announced his candidacy for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. He narrowly won the Republican nomination at the Virginia GOP Convention and went on to lose to Democrat Mark Warner in 2008 in a landslide, 65-34 percent. Gilmore’s defeat by more than 1.1 million votes was the most lopsided in a contested Virginia Senate race in 20 years.

Following the loss in the Senate race, Gilmore became involved with several think tanks and public policy groups. He served as chairman of the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness (focused on homeland security), and as president of USA Secure, a D.C.-based homeland security think tank. Most recently, Gilmore served as President & CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. He is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. He has also been a regular commentator on Fox News Channel.

Gilmore is married to Roxane Gatling Gilmore. Together they have two sons, Jay and Ashton.

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Throughout his time as governor, and his subsequent campaigns, Gilmore has remained largely consistent on most issues.

After having been propelled, in part, to victory in the governor’s race by his pledge to reduce and eventually eliminate Virginia’s car tax1, Gilmore worked with the GOP-controlled legislature to pass legislation that phased out the tax over 5 years.2 Faced with diminishing revenues and the economic decline that followed the September 11th terrorist attacks, the legislature sought to pull back on the scheduled phase-out of the tax but Gilmore insisted the phase-out continue as planned3 and the legislature had to wait until after Gilmore left office to end the phase-out.4 He also kept his other major promise, to hire 4,000 new school teachers.5

Against some backlash, Gilmore proposed and signed in to law legislation that ended Virginia’s Lee-Jackson-King Day — a state holiday honoring Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The legislation created a state holiday for King alone.6

Gilmore was initially denied admission to the University of Virginia law school despite a steady stream of letters from him updating the admissions team on new skills and commendations he received while in the Army stationed in Germany. He was instead admitted to Richmond University’s laws school, but as described in a profile on Wisconsin Public Radio, “…never one to accept defeat, Gilmore headed to Charlottesville instead of Richmond on the first day of classes. [W]hen the first day of classes at U-Va. came around, he was firmly planted in the admissions office of the law school,” and “The dean of admissions remembered all those letters from Germany, and let him in on the spot.”

Gilmore has not been afraid to stand on principle, with one article reporting on his 2008 U.S. Senate campaign referring to his “…aversion to dealmaking and his willingness to buck fellow Republicans…” and quoted him as saying he “gave up several years ago trying to defend Republicans…. There are bad Republicans and bad Democrats… I’m not about to sit around and say that if a guy’s got an R on his name and he didn’t do the job that I’m going to stand up for him.”7

During his 2008 campaign Gilmore submitted inaccurate information on his campaign financial disclosure forms that hid ties to a government contractor that was alleged to have conspired to defraud the federal government by securing fraudulent government contracts in Iraq. The forms Gilmore submitted claimed he was a board member of Windmill International, based in Nashua, NH. He was actually a board member of an identically-named but entirely unrelated and Virginia-based company. Gilmore dismissed the issue as a “clerical error” and had the forms corrected.8

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After being propelled into office, in part, on a promise to repeal Virginia’s car tax, Gilmore signed legislation to have the tax phased out over five years.9 In 1999, Gilmore proposed and signed legislation that reduced tuition at Virginia colleges and universities by 20 percent.10 He then had tuition frozen at that reduced level.11 Virginia’s economy also did well during Gilmore’s tenure, adding 200,000 jobs,12 although the state did enter a recession by the end of his term as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.13

Gilmore’s communications skills are relatively modest. During his 1997 race for governor both he and his Democratic opponent were described by The Washington Post as “pallid,” “listless,” “lackluster,” and “lifeless.”14 He did little to distinguish himself in the three GOP candidate debates he participated in during the 2008 nomination process, and his appearance at the Fox News event for the bottom seven GOP candidates in August 2015 failed to show much improvement. A generally laudatory profile of him in 2008 noted that “…Gilmore’s unflinching pursuit of his goals, coupled with a public reserve that borders on stiffness, has sometimes unsettled his natural allies and earned him a reputation as arrogant, confrontational and vindictive.”15

According to a Washington Post article describing his time as governor, “Gilmore punished those who did not support him by firing them, removing their spouses from appointed boards and vetoing pet projects.”16

Both during his time as governor and following his term, Gilmore served in several leadership positions. He was named chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 2001 and served there until January of 2002.  Gilmore’s time in that role, however, was marked by conflict and political defeats.  While he was RNC chair, the Democrats won both gubernatorial elections held in 2001, including in Gilmore’s state of Virginia.17  Gilmore also experienced tension and conflict with the George W. Bush White House.  He was criticized for not being aggressive enough in promoting Bush’s agenda.18 This led to conflicts between Gilmore and officials in the Bush White House, and eventually to his resignation as RNC chairman.19 He did leave the RNC in strong financial shape however, well ahead of the Democratic National Committee in cash on hand.20

He has served since 2009 as president of the Free Congress Foundation. Additionally, Gilmore served as chairman of two Congressional advisory commissions, one on electronic commerce and the other assessing the risk of a terrorist attack in the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction.

Gilmore won his first two statewide elections handily.  In 1993, he defeated Democrat Bill Dolan 56-44 percent to become Virginia attorney general.21 He defeated incumbent Democrat Lt. Governor Don Beyer in the 1997 Virginia gubernatorial race by a margin of 56-43 percent.22 He was trounced in his last statewide election by 65-34 percent and by a margin of more than 1.1 million votes, losing the 2008 U.S. Senate race to former Democrat Gov. Mark Warner.23 President Barack Obama only defeated John McCain in Virginia by a little less than 235,000 votes24 and Gilmore lost counties that are typically reliably Republican.25

Gilmore fared poorly in his 2008 presidential campaign, raising less than $400,000.26

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Gilmore has consistently opposed raising taxes and has been a proponent of cutting taxes. In 1997, he made eliminating Virginia’s car tax a centerpiece of his campaign for governor.27 After winning the election, Gilmore succeeded in getting the car tax repealed and fought his own Republican-led legislature to continue its implementation.28 According to budget documents, it was the largest tax relief passed in Virginia history.29

Gilmore chaired the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, which was tasked with examining the possibility of an Internet tax.30 The report of Gilmore’s committee recommended against imposing any Internet taxes, which Gilmore also personally opposes.31

He has long advocated for across-the-board tax cuts to help spur economic growth.32 He supported keeping the Bush-era tax cuts, and opposes the creation of a value added tax or national sales tax.33 He has also been critical of the alternative minimum tax for driving people into higher tax brackets.34

Gilmore recently proposed flattening the federal income tax into three brackets of 10 percent, 15 percent, and 25 percent.35 He supports reducing the corporate tax rate to a simplified 15 percent rate.36 And, he has proposed completely eliminating the estate tax, also known as the death tax.37

He is a signer of the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.38


Gilmore signed an executive order as governor directing state agencies to consider the impact of regulations on family stability, including their impact on family income.39 A 2001 article in The Washington Post makes observed that “Gilmore groans about excessive regulation”40 but there is little record that it was a focus of his governorship.

He also opposes raising the minimum wage, preferring a “more robust economy” to allow people to earn more than what they would on minimum wage.41

Budget & Spending

Gilmore submitted a balanced budget every year he was governor of Virginia,42 while state spending soared by 43 percent during his term.43

In a 2010 op-ed he urged congressional Republicans to adopt “zero based” budgeting, as opposed to “baseline” budgeting that many believe drives up spending.44 He criticized the Ryan-Murray federal budget as a “sideshow,” saying it would “rip open sequester cuts, increase domestic spending $63 billion above the caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.”45 However, he had previously encouraged the GOP to compromise to prevent the sequester cuts from going through46 and has insisted that the sequester cuts “must not apply to the defense establishment.”47

Gilmore has also criticized the GOP for caring more about cutting spending than about encouraging rapid economic growth, saying, “They think spending is the most important thing. It’s not.”48

He has characterized raising the debt ceiling as “deadbeating” on the nation’s obligations.49

Gilmore opposes the idea of states declaring bankruptcy as a means of dealing with state budget and state entitlement problems.50


As governor, Gilmore supported Virginia’s long-standing right-to-work legislation51 and fought against the use of “Project Labor Agreements” in state-funded projects, which drive up the cost of projects by mandating union wages and work rules.52

He is opposed to card check union elections, which effectively eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing drives.53

Energy & Environment

Gilmore supports both drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore drilling but believes the U.S. should seek development of alternative energy sources while continuing to drill for oil.54 He has stated that coal is the “U.S.’s greatest resources in competition with the rest of the world,” and supports further development of nuclear power to increase America’s energy independence.55

He opposed cap-and-trade legislation through his work with the non-profit Free Congress Foundation.56 and expressed skepticism of global warming and climate change, saying, “We know the climate is changing, but we do not know for sure how much is caused by man and how much is part of a natural cycle change. I do believe we must work toward reducing emissions without damaging our fragile economy.”57


As a one-term governor Gilmore has rarely spoken on trade issues, but he did support tariffs on of subsidized Canadian lumber being imported into the U.S.58

Health Care

Gilmore has a somewhat inconsistent record on health care. He opposes Obamacare, having characterized it as a “significant problem” that is “unworkable” and that “tamps down [economic] growth” and a “radical experiment” “trying to socialize all medicine in the United States.”59 He has said he would seek to eliminate Obamacare as president.60 He has, however, expressed support for retaining provisions of Obamacare that cover pre-existing conditions, and that allow children to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old.61

Gilmore says he supports free market solutions to health care for most people, and “liberating the private enterprise system” to make health care affordable to more people.62

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported increasing Medicaid funding for the state.63 He criticized the Medicaid Part D prescription drug benefit for increasing spending.64

Entitlements & Welfare

In 2005, Gilmore supported President George W. Bush’s proposal on Social Security reform, which called for optional private accounts for those under age 55 funded by diverting part of the current payroll tax.65 He has called for capping entitlement benefits to help create “a culture of independence,”66 and has expressed support for possibly raising the retirement age for Social Security.67 He has also called the idea of means testing for Social Security benefits “immoral.”68

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported the federal welfare reform measures of the 1990s.69


Gilmore has said he supports increased control of the border,70 and opposes a “general unified amnesty” for illegal immigrants already in the country,71 although he has also said it is “unrealistic” to expect that the majority of illegal aliens currently in the country can be deported.72 Instead he favors giving current illegal immigrants a legal status that does not include a path to citizenship.73

In a 2014 interview, he said, “The main thing is for the Republican Party to send a message that we’re concerned about our security on the southern border, that we want to have legislation that is welcoming to Hispanic community which is adding so much to the United States, but doesn’t just create open borders where we’re totally out of control.”74

He has said he agrees with the consensus view of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects “birthright citizenship” granting American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil regardless of their parents’ citizenship or legal status,75 and also said “sanctuary cities” are illegal and “must not be permitted.”76


Gilmore has a limited record on agriculture issues, supporting tax incentives to encourage people to become farmers77 while also suggesting in a 2010 op-ed that farm subsidies be reduced.78

Banking & Finance

In 2008, he expressed concern that “taxpayers are being asked to bail out investment companies, banks and real estate firms that allowed their executives to make risky lending decisions,” adding that we “need to restrict these kinds of taxpayer bailouts.” 79 He added that it is “not appropriate for the taxpayers to be put in a position where their tax dollars are used to bail out companies who made bad business decisions.”

He has asserted that Washington “fell asleep at the switch” on financial oversight leading up to the 2008 crash.80

Corporate Welfare

Aside from opposing the bailout of Wall Street in 2008, Gilmore has said relatively little about corporate welfare.

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International Affairs

Gilmore has said that America needs “an active and decisive foreign policy and national security policy to shape the world to make sure that it is not a threat to the existence and safety of Americans.”81 He has stressed the importance of “a forward-leaning foreign policy and national security policy,” adding that “[w]e are the only people that can provide stability in the 21st century — the way we did in the 20th — and we are not doing that.”82 And he has called for the need to “send a decisive message here that people who attack Americans and attack American interests will be retaliated against.”83

Gilmore has been critical of the foreign policy of both Obama and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), warning that we can’t have a “pullback foreign policy, which is what the president has been doing — and by the way, what [Republican Sen.] Rand Paul [of Kentucky] has been advocating as well.”84 Additionally, he has been critical of Obama’s drone policy, in particular the 2015 drone strike that took the lives of two hostages, including one American.85

He has expressed a concern that “our enemies don’t fear us anymore, and our allies don’t trust us anymore.”86

He has cited both Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and China’s moves in the South China Sea as constituting part of an “international emergency.”87 In response to Russian actions, he has said he would send American troops to the Baltic nations to deter further aggression by Putin and favors aid short of sending military forces to support Ukraine.88

War on Terror

Gilmore has made conflicting statements on the Patriot Act.  Initially, Gilmore opposed the Patriot Act as “over-reactive” and expressed concern that “our civil freedoms might be impinged upon.”89 He has recently stated that he is “in favor of most of the Patriot Act now” but that he has concerns “about a lack of oversight.”90 He has said, “we have a duty to be watchful” of abuses, “particularly if Patriot Act II comes along.”91

He has characterized national security information leaker Edward Snowden as “a traitor and a coward,” 92 and has expressed concern that Snowden’s actions “create danger” like the Boston Marathon bombing.93 Gilmore, however, has asserted that despite his criticisms of Snowden, he is not in favor of the NSA’s surveillance programs. He says he opposes “the National Security Agency spying on all of our personal emails or our correspondence” 94 and believes that “the NSA has caused irreparable damage to the trust in our government institutions by impeding our civil liberties and, most likely, lying to Congress.”95

He has also been critical of Obama’s drone policy, in particular the 2015 drone strike that took the lives of two hostages, including one American.96

Gilmore supported the Iraq War and has praised President George W. Bush’s leadership.  Of Bush, Gilmore said, “he’s issuing a message of steadfastness,” that he’s “trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments,” and that he’s “beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.”97

Gilmore was, however, critical of the president’s inaction during the Iraq insurgency, stating “the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.”98 He has also criticized any timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq as “not reasonable” and “not the way to be conducting foreign policy in Iraq.”99

Gilmore was highly critical of President Obama’s push for a nuclear deal, saying that “by readying an agreement with Iran on the future of its nuclear weapons program, the president is pursuing a policy that could readily and comprehensively destabilize the Middle East or, worse still, give Iran a clear path to nuclear dominance of the entire region.”100 After the deal with Iran was announced, he called it dangerous and risky, and suggested that as president he would seek to build a “new NATO in the Middle East,” consisting of nations including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other relatively friendly nations, to counter Iranian power.101 He also said the new security organization could deal with ISIS,102 and that American special forces could be used to help fight the terrorist organization.103

Gilmore was also critical of the letter sent to Iranian leaders by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and co-signed by 47 Senate Republicans, saying he didn’t think it was “constructive”.104

Military Preparedness & Budget

Gilmore favors increased military spending.105 He has expressed concern over “the decline of the American national security establishment” and that the “Army is diminished at this point to a dangerous level.”106 Gilmore has stated that he believes “we ought to have a policy that says that we have the capacity to address two challenges across the world at the same time,” and that because we don’t have that capability now it means “we are understaffed in the United States Army.”

Gilmore also has opposed the sequestration cuts to defense spending, saying that the sequester “must not apply to the defense establishment.”107

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American Exceptionalism

In a 2015 TV interview and town hall, Gilmore was critical of what he saw as President Obama’s lack of a belief in American exceptionalism, saying:

“I think the White House does not think we’re an exceptional nation, and I believe we are.  I think we are the one people who can actually stand up for western values, democracy, the advancement of women, the rule of law, a free market system.”108

Judiciary & Crime

Gilmore says he doesn’t believe in litmus tests for judges, “except for this: I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law, and not try to make the law.” He says he believes the Supreme Court is “being converted into some kind of political body,” and that “they have to have some kind of legal basis and precedents for being able to follow the law.”109

During his brief 2008 presidential campaign, Gilmore said, “I’m going to appoint judges who will not make law from the bench and who will not carry out societal norms by virtue of twisting up the law and therefore undermining people’s confidence in the law. … I will attempt to appoint strict constructionists.”110

Gilmore opposes the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, believing that it was “wrongly decided” and that it’ll be “the greatest day in this country’s history when that, in fact, is overturned.”111

Gilmore has pledge to “support judges who will not legislate from the bench, who understand the law is made by legislatures and Congress,” adding that he would appoint “strict constructionists judges.”112

Gilmore supports the death penalty, “because it sets a standard that says that we will not tolerate these ghastly murders that not only kill people, but destroy families forever.”113  During Gilmore’s term as Virginia governor, 37 people were executed.

Gilmore intervened in two death penalty cases during his term.  In 1999 he granted executive clemency to Calvin Swann on the basis of mental illness.114 In 2000 Gilmore ordered DNA testing in the case of Earl Washington Jr., who had been convicted of murder and was waiting execution on death row, and commuted his sentence to life in prison. After DNA testing implicated a person other than Washington in the crime, Gilmore issued a full pardon.115

He supports the continuation of, and increased funding for, the war on drugs.116 He has said he believes that “illegal drugs are not an acceptable part of our society.”117

Free Speech & Religious Liberty

Gilmore praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, saying the “decision to strike down Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate ensures that individuals are able to conduct their business in accordance with their beliefs and that the Obama Administration’s assault on religious liberty has gone too far.”118

He has criticized the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, saying he believes eliminating it is necessary for candidates without larger personal wealth to win the presidential nomination.119 He has also expressed support for the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, saying it’s “fine because it talks about free speech and the ability to give money as a product of that speech.”120


Gilmore opposes the Common Core federal education standards, and has been critical of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) for his support of the program.121 While governor of Virginia, Gilmore called for a statewide voucher program for the state.122

He has expressed concern about the current state of student loan debt, but has emphasized addressing the issue on the cost-of-tuition side of the equation.  He has said we need “an honest conversation about costs and expenses at the college level,” and “[m]ost importantly, we need to get people more prosperous so they are not at the mercy of a loan program.”123 He has also called for increased government oversight of college and university spending, stating that “the more money to make available to higher education, the more money they will take.  And that means that tuitions are going up and up and up.”124

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore cut state college and university tuition by 20 percent and froze tuition at the reduced level.125

Social Issues

Gilmore serves on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association126 and has vowed that as president he would protect Second Amendment rights, writing in an op-ed, “There is far too much violent crime in America. But that fact does not arise from the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. The real reasons for violent crime – especially crimes in which guns are used – is that it’s easier for politicians to huff and puff about the need for more gun control rather than deal with the real problems. You can see that in cities such as Baltimore and New York where the mayors scorn the police and don’t want to face the facts that are causing their people to suffer from so much crime.”127

Following a double murder in Roanoke, Va., in 2015 Gilmore said the focus needs to be on better identification and treatment of people with mental illness.128

Gilmore describes himself as pro-life,129 but has also stated in the past that he supports a right to abortion in the first 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.130 He has added that he believes that abortion before the 8 week point is not “OK” but that he doesn’t believe that it should be legally prohibited.131 While governor of Virginia, Gilmore championed and helped to pass laws requiring informed consent132 and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions,133 as well as a parental notification law for abortions for anyone under the age of 18.134 Gilmore also helped to pass a law prohibiting partial-birth abortion in Virginia.135 He has said he favors overturning Roe v. Wade and believes states should be able to set their own policies on abortion.136

During the 2008 Virginia U.S. Senate race, Gilmore said he opposes both gay marriage and civil unions.137 He has not yet indicated whether he favors a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling establishing same-sex marriage as a right.138

On affirmative action, Gilmore has said he doesn’t support quotas, “but all during my career I have worked to create opportunities for minorities.”139 As governor he signed legislation establishing Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday. Previously it had been celebrated along with the birth dates of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.140

As governor Gilmore issued an executive order requiring all new regulations be examined for their impact on the family, specifically whether it would “strengthen or erode the authority and rights of parents in the education, nurturing, and supervision of their children… encourage or discourage economic self-sufficiency, self-pride, and the assumption of responsibility for oneself, one’s spouse, and one’s children and/or elderly parents… strengthen or erode the marital commitment; and… increase or decrease disposable family income.”141

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After winning his first two statewide elections in Virginia, Gilmore lost his most recent election in historic fashion, the 2008 U.S. Senate race against former Democratic Governor Mark Warner.142  Before that Gilmore dropped out of the 2008 presidential campaign after generating little interest in his candidacy.143

During the 2008 Senate race Gilmore became embroiled in a controversy after he submitted inaccurate information on his campaign financial disclosure forms concealing his ties to a government contractor that allegedly conspired to defraud the federal government.  Gilmore dismissed the issue as a “clerical error” and had the forms corrected.144

Gilmore was criticized for his performance as Republican National Committee chairman, which ended with his resignation after one year (chairs normally serve a two-year term). He reportedly had a contentious relationship with the George W. Bush White House and was criticized for not being aggressive in promoting the president’s agenda.145 Republicans also lost two major gubernatorial elections in states where they had previously held the governor’s mansion, including Virginia.

Gilmore also experienced a controversial episode during his governorship with the case of Hugh Finn.  In 1998, Gilmore fought a court decision giving Michele Finn the right to remove life support from her coma-stricken husband, Hugh Finn.146 Gilmore lost the legal battle, and the state of Virginia was ordered to pay Michele Finn’s legal and court costs.147

Gilmore has been largely absent from the national political scene since leaving the Virginia governor’s office and RNC chairmanship, aside from his brief presidential bid in 2007 and Senate election loss in 2008.

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