Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore suspended his presidential bid on February 12, 2016, after receiving a total of just 145 votes in the Iowa and New Hampshire elections. In a statement, Gilmore said the debate structure and the national-media environment had made it impossible for him to continue.
My campaign was intended to offer the gubernatorial experience with the track record of a true conservative, experienced in national security, to unite the party. My goal was to focus on the importance of this election as a real turning point, and to emphasize the dangers of continuing on a road that will further undermine America's economy and weaken national security.
Nonetheless, I will continue to express my concerns about the dangers of electing someone who has pledged to continue Obama's disastrous policies. And, I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that our next president is a free enterprise Republican who will restore our nation to greatness and keep our cities safe.
James Stuart Gilmore III, who prefers to be addressed by the shorthand name “Jim”, was born in Richmond, Virginia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia, where – a lifelong right-winger – he was a member of the school's College Republicans organization. After completing military service in the US Army, he continued his education at the University of Virginia Law School and ultimately became an attorney.
Gilmore's crowning political achievement thus far has been his election as Governor of the state of Virginia in 1997, in which office he served for four years. Forbidden by Virginia's constitution from seeking a consecutive term, he could not run again in 2001, and was replaced by Democrat Mark Warner. Gilmore seriously considered but ultimately declined making a presidential run in 2008, though he did seek election to the United States Senate for Virginia in that year. In the Senate race, however, though he won his party's nomination, he was soundly defeated in the general election – by Mark Warner, it is interesting to note, who by then had finished his own term as Virginia's Governor.
While he is solidly Republican, Gilmore had endured criticism from those to his political right concerning his conservative credentials, especially relating to his position on abortion. Though he has expressed his belief that terminating a pregnancy before it is 8 weeks old is “not okay”, he rejects the notion of prohibiting the practice. He has also stated support for a woman's right to an abortion from 8 to 12 weeks into her pregnancy. At the same time, however, he has said that the infamous Roe Vs Wade Supreme Court case was wrongly decided, and that it will be a “good day” when it is repealed. He is unambiguously conservative on the issues of capital punishment and gun control, endorsing the death penalty and proclaiming the importance of the second amendment.
Gilmore officially entered the race by filing the paperwork with the FEC on July 29, 2015. He may encounter opposition from the hardline but crucial Tea Party segment of the GOP, who are most likely to take issue with his questionable abortion positions.