Who Is Jim Gilmore? The 17th Republican Candidate Likes Pizza & Beer Just As Much As You Do
On Wednesday, the GOP added another to its crowded roster as Jim Gilmore became the 17th Republican candidate (and hopefully the last???) to enter the presidential race. A former governor of Virginia and adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Gilmore has some serious political experience under his belt. But he might also have some pizza and beer in his stomach and a gun license in his back pocket.
After growing up in Richmond, Gilmore got both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. In between his stints at UVA, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the 650th Military Intelligence Group. (He speaks German as a result of his military training.)
Gilmore served as the governor of Virginia for one term from 1998 to 2002, as the commonwealth allows its governors only one four-year term. 9/11 took place during his tenure, and one of the planes flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in the terrorist attacks.
Currently, Gilmore serves as a member of the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors and as the president and CEO of a conservative think tank. His political career has given him experience with some of today's hot-button issues, including terrorism, minority relations, and student debt. Still, he'll have to overcome some serious obstacles, including a failed presidential campaign from his past.
Ahead of the 2008 election, Gilmore launched a campaign in January 2007 (that will show you how much times have changed — this time around, he didn't announce until almost August and no candidate had announced as early as January). He wasn't able to raise enough money for his campaign to be competitive, though, so he dropped out of the race before the primaries had begun. This time, his late arrival to the party could have given him more time to fundraise outside the regulations of campaign finance.
Gilmore may also try to make his campaign successful by focusing on some of the big issues he has experience with. As a governor during 9/11, he has experience governing amidst national emergencies and turbulent times of foreign policy. Also during his governorship, Gilmore cut tuition and fees at Virginia's public colleges and universities by 20 percent and secured millions of dollars in funding for Virginia's historically black public universities, Norfolk State and Virginia State.
Aside from politics, Gilmore has said that his favorite restaurant is Pizza Hut, and he is known to drink Miller Genuine Draft. He has also admitted to being a band geek in high school. He served as drum major of his high school's marching band and president of his high school's concert band.
Gilmore is late getting to the game, but he's definitely not alone. Now, he has to overcome his opponents and his past campaign shortcomings to come out on top.