November 19th, 2007
12:23 PM ET
11 years ago

Jim Gilmore announces Senate run

Former Virginia Gov. Gilmore participating in a Republican presidential debate prior to dropping his White House bid.

WASHINGTON - (CNN) Jim Gilmore officially jumped into the race for the Senate Monday.

The former Republican Governor of Virginia announced in an e-mail and on the Internet that he’s a candidate for the seat of retiring Senator John Warner, a long time Republican Senator from Virginia who announced earlier this year that he’ll retire at the end of his term rather than run for re-election next year.

"America has a lot of work to do and doesn't have the right leaders to do it," says Gilmore in his announcement, adding that "I'm running for the United State Senate from Virginia because I want to be one of those leaders who call on the spirit that is common in all of us, and use it to restore our country for the benefit of our people and in the eyes of the world."

Gilmore’s announcement sets up an expected high profile contest between two former Virginia governors. Democrat Mark Warner, who succeeded Gilmore at the State House in Richmond, jumped into the race for the senate seat earlier this year. Warner is not related to the retiring senator.

Besides being former Virginia governors, Mark Warner and John Gilmore have something else in common: White House aspirations.

Mark Warner contemplated a presidential bid last year before deciding against it. Gilmore jumped into the race for the White House late last year before dropping out in July.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: John Warner • Mark Warner • Senate
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Gloria McAllister, Roanoke, Virginia

    It's JIM Gilmore, not John Gilmore.

    November 19, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Mike USMC 95-99


    who cares,

    He doesn't have a chance...

    November 19, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Daniel, NY

    Virginia is ranked number 1 and "likely takeover" on the latest detailed race-by-race Senate Rankings of Campaign Diaries. Make sure to check out the rest of the rankings.

    November 19, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Brooks Britt, Portsmouth, Virginia

    This is rich, Jim Gilmore actually expects the people of Virginia to elect him to represent their interest? Give me a break! This after he left office as Governor with the finances in ruin, which by the way, Governor Mark Warner turned around. This state was a shambles under Gilmore and a model of excellence under Warner. This won't even be a contest, not if the people of Virginia have any kind of memory!

    November 19, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |

    This is a lost cause for Jim Gilmore. I believe John Warner will beat him Handily. 2008 will be the Year of the Democrats. Most Democratic senate or house aspirants should be able to ride the tailwind of Hillary Clinton to victory.

    November 19, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Andy, Williamsburg, VA

    I believe he used to be known as Governor Kill-more. The Republicans would have been much better-off with moderate Rep. Tom Davis, but really, any candidate running against Warner would be in for quite a fight. Mark Warner will mop the floor with Gilmore.

    November 19, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Tim, Rockville, MD

    I agree that Gilmore's election is not likely. Virginia's demographics actually changed from red to blue several years ago, mainly due to the ideology of the majority of people moving into Northern Virginia (both legally and illegally). The elected offices are still catching up with that shift.

    November 19, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. David B

    Gilmore dropped out of the presidential race because he didn't stand a snowball's chance of getting the nomination; he will lose in Virginia because he is the least popular living former Governor of our state and because his opponent, Mark Warner, is the most popular living former Governor.

    Gilmore's one claim to fame was that he was going to eliminate the state's car tax. He never did, we still pay it, but he talks about what a great job he did getting rid of the tax all the time. He isn't taken very seriously in most circles.

    November 19, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. VA native, Washington DC

    What gimmick campaign is he going to run this time? He really fleeced our great state with "No Car Tax" back in '97.
    I'd def. accept Sen. Gilmore to have President Mark Warner, though.

    November 19, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. David B, Sterling, VA

    Gilmore won't be running against John Warner, he'll be running against Mark Warner. They're from different parties (M. Warner is a Democrat, J. Warner a Republican) and there is no relation.

    November 19, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. John Reston, VA

    Virginia Democrats are like the Republicans 15 years ago. That is, many of the Virginia Democrats are more conservative. For instance, former Gov. Mark Warner (D) signed several pro gun rights bills, Sen. Jim Webb (D) campaigned as being pro-gun, and State Senator elect Chap Petersen (D) who was endorsed by the NRA and VCDL defeated incumbent Devolites-Davis. The conservative shift over the last 15 years, is a win for all Virginians. It doesn't really matter what party with which you affiliate; it matters whether you are conservative or liberal.

    November 19, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. ronnie knoxville tn

    so why have taxes gone UP so dramatically in VA . ? Is that what you want in Virginia? Then vote Democrat

    November 19, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Mike,PanamaCity,FL

    Currently numererous polls across the boards have Mark WARNER at 54 % of the vote while Jim Gilmore is at 46 %

    Mark Warner did alot of good things for Virginia and was one of the 5 top Governors in the country during his tenure.

    What does Jim Gilmore have controversial after controversial episodes , including one where he executed a foreign national despite INTERNATIONAL PROTEST .

    I am not going to even start with the tax issues , because its not even worth it , THe republicans claim the huge tax cuts for the rich and powerfull is helping the middle , We all know that is not true .

    November 19, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. John Reston,

    Ronnie, I didn't intend to sound as though I were advocating for the Democrats. My point was that they are running more conservative campaigns in many cases, co-opting traditional Republican issues. The Republicans ought to figure out how to counter this. I did not vote for Gov. Mark Warner and did not vote for Sen. Jim Webb.

    November 19, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Hank Morgan, Hartford CT

    I was hoping Jim would run. Run far, far away from any position of power.

    November 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Pat, Salem VA

    OK...I'm from the state of VA and remember the good, ole Gilmore years. In order to get into office, his premise was to do away with the car tax entirely and of course those easily persuaded believed that and swept him right into office. GUESS WHAT??? It's 2007 and we're still paying it!!! A word to the wise about this guy!

    November 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. aj, il

    Why would a former Governor want to be a US senator?

    November 19, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Collin, Alexandria, VA

    Gilmore is a principled conservative who worked to trim the VA state budget. His largest problem was getting the legislature to follow suit when it came to cutting district pork projects. The car tax (and what the funds were paying for) was a casualty of local politics on both sides of the aisle. Gilmore's politics are largely in line and in touch with VA conservatives. However, his delivery and ability to build consensus/make deals has held him back. Gilmore will have an uphill battle until he demonstrates more savvy on the softer side of politics. That said, I'm still firmly in his corner.

    November 19, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. marie-virginia beach

    It’s about time Republican Jim Gilmore announced. You’ll have my vote! Democratic Senator Webb won by less than 10,000 votes (over 2 million votes were cast- should have had a recount). The last thing Virginia needs is another Democratic Senator who doesn’t represent the people; the only people Senator Webb represents is the Democratic Party. Good luck Governor Gilmore!

    November 19, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Dave, Richmond, VA


    Jim Gilmore's car tax debacle was not a casualty of local politics but a casualty of him pandering to the no tax crowd of the Republican party. Gilmore tried to cut the personal property tax fully but made no adjustments to make up for the revenue shortfall either in spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere. Fortunately, unlike the federal government, under Virginia law the budget cannot run into a deficit so his car tax abolition was halted. Gilmore left the commonwealth in terrible financial shape after years of fiscal strength and Mark Warner first cut spending a great deal (remember the DMV cuts?) and then worked with Republican legislators to raise taxes to close the budget shortfall Gilmore caused. Gilmore is a politician from the word go. How else do you explain an elected Commonwealth's Attorney for Henrico County who never tried any cases while he was in office? It is all about the position, not the citizens of Virginia.

    November 19, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Common Sense, Washington, DC

    Just for clarification purposes, those living in VA notice on their personal property taxes a line stated "tax relief" when they pay their car tax. That is one of the many legacies Gilmore has provided to the state. The reason why the whole tax wasn't abolished was due to the State congress that blocked it. And as even Mark Warner will attest to, the Governor has no real power over the finances of the state other than to veto or delay signings. This is how Mark Warner was able to keep Congress in an extended session until he got his late-term tax increase passed, which resulted in a $2Bill surplus which the state could not handle. Since there was nothing in the states constitution to handle refunds, the Government enacted new programs in order to spend it. Now, the state is hurting for funds, because those new programs have a life cycle that doesn't expire yet.

    So, before we start pointing blames on "taxes" and "state finances" neither candidates have a solid basis to stand on.

    November 19, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    What does it matter, Gov. Warner will wipe the floor with him. Heck, he might even drag Hillary on his coattails, polls are showing that Hillary is getting more support in VA than Kerry did in 2004......

    November 19, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Ed, Roanoke, VA

    a big LOSER. promised the voters he'd abolished the yearly car tax and DID NOT!

    November 19, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Charles Powell

    I will be voting for Mark Warner ... We need a change in Washington ... We need to elect Democrats, who will be pragmatic, but not demogogues. We need to rid the government of conservative, right-wing politicians who have got this country in a mess!

    November 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |