The 17th major Republican candidate joined the presidential race today, as the nation erupted in exclamations of "Oh my god, another?" and "Who is Jim Gilmore?" Even for seasoned political reporters, Jim Gilmore is a bit of a unknown politician. I'll admit, I'm immensely smug that I actually knew who Gilmore was without Googling ... but only because I'm from his home state and once had to write a paper on him. But I at least had a leg up on the vast majority of Twitter users, who were a mixture of confused, exasperated, and befuddled at the newest candidate's announcement.
For those who aren't from the great state of Virginia, Gilmore is our former governor who served from 1998 to 2002 and, aside from being completely forgettable, honestly wasn't too horrible. He pushed legislation to reduce public tuition costs by 20 percent, and also gave Martin Luther King Jr. his own holiday, so he didn't have to share with Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson anymore. His lasting legacy, however, was his push to reduce car taxes within the state, which was successful, but didn't do much to help Virginia's struggling post-9/11 economy. But he hasn't held public office in over 10 years, which is a little concerning.
After leaving his gubernatorial position, Gilmore had a brief run as the RNC Chairman, and in 2008 had an even briefer presidential campaign. But now that he's back, Twitter is asking the questions we're all thinking: who and why?
The overwhelming reaction on Twitter are people asking who Gilmore is, or pretending they totally knew about him before Googling. Those few who were aware of the former governor's existence, however, seem almost as confused as those who don't. With the first Republican debates just weeks away, the Republican primary is full. The RNC should hang up a "no vacancies" sign and just call it a day. When Trump announced, it was funny. But with Gilmore's latest addition, it's just becoming sad, as virtual unknowns are jumping in. Since Fox News is now hosting two separate debates for the top ten polling candidates, as well as the rest of the field, Gilmore will definitely be included.
But where words fail me, Twitter speaks. So I'll just allow the fine citizens of the internet to prove my point.
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