Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore Gets on Board the GOP 2016 Train

Posted on: July 30, 2015, 12:21h. 

Last updated on: July 30, 2015, 12:23h.

Jim Gilmore likes being an underdog, apparently.

Jim Gilmore GOP nomination president
Jim Gilmore served as the governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, and is now seeking the Republican nomination for president, joining an already crowded field. (Image: Gerald Herbert/

On Wednesday, the former Virginia governor launched his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, officially filing the paperwork to launch a campaign with the Federal Elections Commission.

Gilmore says he is likely to make an official announcement sometime during the first week of August.

Gilmore joins a long list of Republican presidential contenders already in the fray. That list isn’t going to leave many voters complaining about a lack of choices next year, with 16 candidates already in line before Gilmore made it yet one more.

Every presidential election technically has dozens of candidates, if you count every person with no backing who files some paperwork or tries to get a few locals to write their name in on a ballot. But the upcoming Republican primary battle is reaching epic proportions because of the number of notable candidates who are already in the race.

Biggest GOP Field in Recent Memory

Gilmore is generally regarded as the 17th serious GOP candidate for the party’s nomination. That number counts all of the candidates who have held a major public office or otherwise have fairly wide recognition in the world of Republican politics.

The leading names include businessman and media personality Donald Trump, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and former Florida governor, Jeb Bush. But they are followed by a huge group of candidates that are all receiving at least some support from part of the electorate.

The list of candidates now running for the Republican nomination include Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Dr. Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Also in the race, but polling outside of the top 10, are former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, business executive Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former New York Governor George Pataki, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and now Gilmore.

Top Ten to Debate Next Week

That top ten cutoff is important, as only those who make that group will be allowed to participate in the first GOP debate, scheduled for August 6 on Fox News. While that debate will take place in the evening, an earlier forum will be held for candidates that don’t qualify for the main debate.

But it’s not even entirely clear who will qualify for the earlier candidates forum. Fox News is now saying that all candidates who are consistently being offered as options to respondents in national polling will be invited, which is an easier threshold than the one percent average in polling that was originally proposed.

But it still might not be enough for Gilmore, whose name has not appeared on most polls.

This is all to say that Gilmore’s candidacy is a long shot, to say the least. There’s no clear base of support for the former governor, and with so many candidates already in the race, it may be hard for him to stand out against the crowd.

Gilmore’s record on gambling issues is limited, but he was generally opposed to the expansion of gambling in Virginia as governor. In 1998, Gilmore came out strongly against a proposal to use video terminal-based lottery games to fund a baseball stadium in Northern Virginia, and also stood opposed to casino gambling in the state.