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Jim Gilmore

In office
January 17, 1998 – January 12, 2002
Lieutenant John H. Hager
Preceded by George Allen
Succeeded by Mark Warner

In office
2001 – 2002
Preceded by Jim Nicholson
Succeeded by Marc Racicot

In office
1994 – 1997
Governor George F. Allen
Preceded by Stephen D. Rosenthal
Succeeded by Richard Cullen

Born October 6, 1949 (1949-10-06) (age 60)
Richmond, Virginia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roxane Gatling Gilmore
Alma mater University of Virginia
Profession Lawyer
Religion Methodist

James Stuart "Jim" Gilmore III (born October 6, 1949) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia and a member of the Republican Party. A native Virginian, Gilmore studied at the University of Virginia, and then served in the U.S. Army as a counterintelligence agent. He later was elected to public office as a county prosecutor, as the Attorney General of Virginia from 1994 to 1998, and as Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002.

Gilmore campaigned for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination until July 2007, when he became the first major Republican candidate to leave the race. However, Gilmore recovered and was successfully nominated as the Republican candidate for Virginia's United States Senate seat being vacated by John Warner. In the November, 2008 election, Gilmore lost to his Democratic opponent Mark Warner.[1]


Early life and education

Gilmore was born in Richmond, Virginia to Margaret Evelyn Kandle, a church secretary, and James Stuart Gilmore, Jr., a grocery store butcher.[2] He graduated from John Randolph Tucker High School and received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1971. Gilmore associated himself with the University's College Republicans chapter, and the Jefferson Literary & Debating Society.


Gilmore enlisted in the United States Army after attending college, receiving training and preparation for service in the Military Intelligence Corps at the newly created United States Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Gilmore also received rigorous foreign language education at the United States Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, California. Gilmore then worked for three years in the early 1970's, purportedly in Heidelberg, West Germany, as a U.S. Army counter intelligence agent where he became fluent in German.


he entered the University of Virginia Law School in the mid-1970's, graduating in 1977. After working for a decade as an attorney at the firm Benedetti, Gilmore, Warthen and Dalton, he was elected Commonwealth's Attorney of his native Henrico County in 1987 and 1991, and then was first elected to statewide office in 1993 as Virginia's Attorney General.[3] After his term ended in 1997, Gilmore joined the law firm of LeClairRyan as a partner.[4]

Governor of Virginia

In 1997, Gilmore faced then-Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer in a bid to succeed George Allen as governor. Gilmore campaigned heavily on the twin promises of hiring 4,000 new teachers in public schools and phasing out Virginia's personal property tax on automobiles.[5] Gilmore was elected, winning 56% of the vote to Beyer's 43%.[6]

In his first year as Governor, Gilmore pushed for car tax reduction legislation that was eventually passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. The legislation reduced car taxes on all cars valued less than $1,000, and phased out the tax on auto values over $1,000 as follows: 12.5% reduction in 1998; 25% reduction in 1999; 47.5% reduction in 2000; 70% reduction in 2001; 100% reduction in 2002. Beginning in 2001, Virginia's economy slowed and tax revenues flattened. In addition to a downturn in the national economy in 2001, Northern Virginia's economy was severely impacted after terrorists flew a hijacked airplane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on September 11, 2001, resulting in the closure of Reagan National Airport for several months. Despite the economic downturn, Gilmore insisted on advancing the car tax phase out from a 47.5% reduction of each taxpayer's bill in 2000 to the scheduled 70% reduction in 2001. Gilmore signed an executive order reducing state spending by all agencies, except for education, to keep the state's budget balanced during the economic downturn. Democrats criticized the spending reductions and car tax cut. According to the Washington Post, "Virginia's politicians struggled to balance car-tax relief against demands for public services."[7] When Gilmore left office in January 2002, the state's "rainy day fund," or revenue stabilization fund, contained $1 billion.

Gilmore also implemented new Standards of Learning reforms in Virginia's public schools. The Standards of Learning prescribed a uniform curriculum in mathematics, science, English and social studies and instituted new tests at the end of the third, fifth and eighth grades, as well as end-of-course tests in high school, to measure student achievement. During Gilmore's term, Virginia's public school students' scores increased on these state tests as well as nationally normed tests.[8]

In 1999, Gilmore proposed and signed into law legislation that reduced tuitions at public colleges and universities by 20%. Gilmore also commissioned a Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education that studied accountability and governance of public colleges and universities. Gilmore's Commission authored the first blueprint for decentralized regulatory and administrative authority to some universities in return for agreements to meet agreed upon performance objectives.

Gilmore also proposed and signed into law Virginia's first stand-alone Martin Luther King Holiday. Prior to this proposal, Virginia had observed a combined Lee-Jackson-King Day that recognized Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Martin Luther King on the same day each year. Gilmore and his wife, Roxane Gatling Gilmore, hosted a historic reception in the Governor's Mansion for Coretta Scott King and announced a technology partnership between Virginia and the King Center for Nonviolence. Gilmore also proposed and funded a new African-American History Trail in Virginia and called upon the State Board of Education to include a more diverse range of historical figures in Virginia's Social Studies curriculum. Test scores during Gilmore's term showed a narrowing of the "achievement gap" between minority and white students. Gilmore significantly increased funding for two of Virginia's historically black universities, Norfolk State University and Virginia State University.

Gilmore created the nation's first state Secretary of Technology, a position first held by Donald Upson. Together they established a statewide technology commission, and signed into law the nation's first comprehensive state Internet policy.[9]

During his term, 37 people were executed in Virginia. Gilmore granted executive clemency to one death row inmate on the basis of mental illness. In another well publicized case, he pardoned Earl Washington, a former death row inmate, after DNA tests, ordered by Gilmore, implicated another person. Gilmore also ordered DNA tests in the case of Derek Rocco Barnabei; the tests confirmed Barnabei's guilt and he was executed.

As Governor, Gilmore signed into law legislation establishing a 24-hour waiting period and informed consent for women seeking an abortion, as well as a ban against partial birth abortion. Gilmore increased funding for adoption services. He also signed into law a bill that banned human cloning. In 1999, Gilmore went to court to try to prevent the removal of a feeding tube of coma victim Hugh Finn. Gilmore argued that removal of a feeding tube was not removal of artificial life support because it amounted to starvation of an infirm person who could not feed himself. As Attorney General of Virginia, Gilmore had defended a legal challenge to Virginia's first parental notification law for minors seeking abortions.

Gilmore reduced government spending in 2001 when the national economy slowed, thus reducing state tax revenues. The budget reductions were necessary to keep the state's budget in balance, because budgeted spending exceeded revenues. Democrats criticized Gilmore for advancing car tax relief while reducing spending. By the end of his term in 2001, the "budget shortfall," the amount of budgeted spending compared to incoming tax revenues, was $420–500 million.[10][11]

The Virginia Constitution forbids any Governor from serving consecutive terms, so Gilmore could not run for a second term in 2001. He was succeeded by Democrat Mark Warner, who took office in early 2002.

Other positions, 1997–2003

During his term as governor, Gilmore chaired the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce.[12] The Commission was charged with the task of making recommendations to the United States Congress on Internet taxation. The Commission's Report to Congress opposed taxation of the Internet.[13]

From 1999 to 2003, Gilmore chaired the Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, nicknamed the Gilmore Commission.[14] It presented five reports to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and to Congress each December 15 from 1999 through 2003.

From January 2001 to January 2002, Gilmore was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee .[15] Gilmore, who desired to focus on electing conservative candidates across the United States, resigned from this position due to differences of opinion with the Bush Administration, who wanted the RNC to only focus on re-electing the President to a second term in office.

Presidential candidacy in 2008

A "Draft Gilmore for President" group was formed in August 2006 encouraging Gilmore to run for president.[16] On December 19, 2006, Gilmore announced he would form an exploratory committee to "fill the conservative void" in the race. On January 9, 2007, Gilmore officially filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form the Jim Gilmore for President Exploratory Committee.[17] Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics predicted that Gilmore would be one of several candidates competing for the conservative "slot" in the Republican field, and added, "This could be an elaborate ploy to boost his stock in Virginia for a run for governor or the Senate."[18]

Gilmore said he represented "the Republican wing of the Republican Party" in the race for the 2008 Presidential nomination; the comment mirrored the slogan used by Howard Dean when seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2004 election, who lifted the slogan from Senator Paul Wellstone. Gilmore officially announced his candidacy on April 26, 2007.[19]

In the first quarter of 2007 Gilmore raised $174,790, the second lowest of any of the major-party candidates.[20]. Gilmore hosted only one fundraiser in the first quarter due to a late exploratory announcement.

On July 14, 2007, Gilmore announced that he was ending his campaign. Gilmore said that it would be "impractical" to run, citing the difficulty of raising enough money to be competitive in early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.[21]

Senate campaign

In an interview with, Gilmore said that he had been approached to run for the Senate seat of John Warner, who retired at the end of his term in 2009. By the end of the summer, many media outlets, most notably the Washington Post, thought it would be a foregone conclusion that Gilmore would jump into the Senate race. Gilmore's successor as governor, Mark Warner, had already announced in September, and 11th District Congressman Tom Davis had informally announced his candidacy a few days after Mark Warner's announcement.

Gilmore lobbied strongly for choosing the party's nominee at a statewide convention rather than a primary, claiming that a convention would cost only $1 million versus the $4 million required to run a primary campaign. This was no small consideration, as the race for the Democratic nomination essentially ended with Mark Warner's entry into the race. It was understood that Warner would use his considerable wealth to self-finance his campaign. It was thought that a convention would favor Gilmore, since most of the delegates would come from the party's activist base, which is tilted strongly to the right. A primary was thought to favor Davis due to his popularity in voter-rich Northern Virginia; Davis is a moderate Republican, and most Republicans in Northern Virginia tend to be more moderate than their counterparts elsewhere in the state. On October 13, 2007 the state party's central committee voted 47–37 to hold a convention rather than a primary. With this decision, Gilmore said he was seriously considering a run for the Senate.

Gilmore formally announced his candidacy via a YouTube video on November 19, 2007.[22] He said that he was running to give Virginia "a strong and steady hand" in the Senate. The domain name had been registered on July 10--four months before Gilmore's formal entry--[23] and the username that uploaded the video to YouTube had been registered on October 16.

Gilmore faced a challenge from his right in State Delegate Bob Marshall of Prince William County. Marshall charged Gilmore with being too soft on abortion. However, at the convention Gilmore won the nomination by 65 votes out of 3,000 cast--less than a percentage point.

In the November election, Gilmore was defeated, winning only 34 percent of the vote to Warner's 65 percent. Gilmore only carried four counties in the state—Rockingham, Augusta, Powhatan and Hanover. In many cases, he lost in many areas of the state that are normally reliably Republican.[24]

Present activities

Gilmore is currently Chairman of the National Council on Readiness & Preparedness, a homeland security program focused on community involvement and public/private partnerships.[25] He is also President of USA Secure, a non-profit homeland security think tank based in Washington, D.C.[26]

He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and is a political commentator on Fox News.

He also became one of the first former office holders to start a personal blog. The Virginia Patriot is the official blog of Jim Gilmore.

Gilmore and his wife, (Margaret) Roxane Gatling Gilmore, currently split their time between Henrico County and Alexandria. They have two sons, Jay and Ashton.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ancestry of Jim Gilmore
  3. ^ James S. Gilmore, III
  4. ^
  5. ^ AllPolitics - Car Tax Opposition Propels Gilmore's Candidacy - Oct. 31, 1997
  6. ^ Nov97 Gen Election Results for Governor by Congressional District and Locality
  7. ^ Va. GOP Delegates Rev Up Car-Tax Relief Campaign, The Washington Post
  8. ^
  9. ^ Bios
  10. ^ ""Overview of actions to balance state budget"" (PDF). Governor's Actions to Balance the State Budget. Virginia Department of Planning and Budget. 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-10.   "Today, the Governor is announcing preliminary actions to balance the budget and address the projected $421 million revenue shortfall."
  11. ^ Editorial (15 June 2008). "Mr. Gilmore's Candidacy". Washington Post: p. B06. Retrieved 2008-10-10.   "'State government is in sound financial shape,' he [Gilmore] declared sunnily in August 2001, even as state lawmakers from both parties predicted a $500 million revenue shortfall in the commonwealth's $25 billion budget — about 10 times Mr. Gilmore's own projections and, as it turned out, itself an underestimation of the state's actual woes."
  12. ^ NCTL: National Center for Technology and Law
  13. ^ Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce - Report to Congress
  14. ^ RAND | RAND National Security Research Division | Gilmore Commission
  15. ^ Stuart Rothenberg, "White House takes Gilmore's scalp",, December 3, 2001
  16. ^ Virginia Patriot
  17. ^ Lewis, Bob (December 19, 2006). "Former Va. governor opens exploratory GOP White House campaign". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  
  18. ^ Barnes, Lindsay (January 4, 2007). "Long shot: Sabato doesn't like Gilmore's odds in '08". The Hook. Retrieved 2007-02-21.  
  19. ^ Las Vegas Sun, April 26, 2007.
  20. ^ First Quarter 2007 FEC Filings | Campaign 2008: Campaign Finance |
  21. ^ Mike Allen, "Gilmore drops out of the race", The Politico, July 14, 2007
  22. ^
  23. ^ Whois on Gilmore's Senate campaign site
  24. ^ Results by county for 2008 Senate election
  25. ^ NCORP: Public/Private Partnerships for Community Preparedness and Response
  26. ^ USA Secure - Who We Are

External links

Official sites
Topic pages and databases
Legal offices
Preceded by
Stephen D. Rosenthal
Attorney General of Virginia
Succeeded by
Richard Cullen
Political offices
Preceded by
George F. Allen
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Mark Warner
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Allen
Republican Nominee for Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Mark Earley
Preceded by
John Warner
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Virginia
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
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