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Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore

Former Governor, Virginia

Republican

The Popular Vote

0 70 100 62
70%
Average based on 62 scores
  • Free Market
    21%
  • National Security
    21%
  • American Exceptionalism
    21%
  • Consistency
    20%
  • Ethics
    22%
  • Principles
    21%
  • Accomplishments
    20%
  • Political Skills
    18%
  • Communication
    17%
  • Viability
    14%

Jim Gilmore

Out of the running Last modified: February 12, 2016

LPA's Final Grade: D/67(Why this Grade?)

Free Market
8
National Security
9
American Exceptionalism
8
Consistency
10
Ethics
9
Principles
8
Accomplishments
7
Political Skills
5
Communication
3
Viability
0

Leadership MatrixCandidate grading is a dynamic process and is subject to change according to ongoing evaluation using the criteria of the Leadership Matrix.

Jim Gilmore is the former governor of Virginia, elected to a single four-year term in 1997. (Virginia does not allow its governors to serve consecutive terms.) He also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee for one year, and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. He officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 nomination in August of 2015.

Gilmore ran for governor as a tax-cutting conservative and has been a voice for smaller government and free markets. He is also a former Army intelligence officer and has made the increasing international instability a cornerstone of his campaign. For the last several years he has been president of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank.

He began his campaign hampered by low name recognition, something he has been largely unable to overcome in a crowded field filled with candidates with more recent credentials and accomplishments. After being invited to the first “undercard” debate for low-polling candidates, Gilmore failed to qualify for the next five events, only making the early state again for the late-January event. His relatively low-key demeanor and mediocre communications skills add to his challenges.

Gilmore currently does not register any support in national polls or polls in the key early states, and his fundraising has been negligible – as of the end of December he had raised less than $200,000. He has failed to qualify to be on the ballot for most of the primaries and caucuses, and although Gilmore is known for his perseverance, it is unlikely he will be able to rise from the bottom to even make a noticeable impression on the 2016 Republican nominating contest.

Out of the running Last modified: February 12, 2016

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Gilmore has consistently opposed raising taxes and has been a proponent of cutting taxes. In 1997, he made eliminating Virginia’s car tax a centerpiece of his campaign for governor. After winning the election, Gilmore succeeded in getting the car tax repealed and fought his own Republican-led legislature to continue its implementation. According to budget documents, it was the largest tax relief passed in Virginia history.

Gilmore chaired the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, which was tasked with examining the possibility of an Internet tax. The report of Gilmore’s committee recommended against imposing any Internet taxes, which Gilmore also personally opposes.

He has long advocated for across-the-board tax cuts to help spur economic growth. He supported keeping the Bush-era tax cuts, and opposes the creation of a value-added tax or national sales tax. He has also been critical of the alternative minimum tax for driving people into higher tax brackets.

Gilmore recently proposed flattening the federal income tax into three brackets of 10 percent, 15 percent, and 25 percent. He supports reducing the corporate tax rate to a simplified 15 percent rate. And he has proposed completely eliminating the estate tax, also known as the death tax.

He is a signer of the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

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He has asserted that Washington “fell asleep at the switch” on financial oversight leading up to the 2008 crash.

Gilmore signed an executive order as governor directing state agencies to consider the impact of regulations on family stability, including their impact on family income. A 2001 article in The Washington Post observed that “Gilmore groans about excessive regulation” but there is little record that it was a focus of his governorship.

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As governor, Gilmore supported Virginia’s long-standing right-to-work legislation and fought against the use of “Project Labor Agreements” in state-funded projects, which drive up the cost of projects by mandating union wages and work rules.

He is opposed to card check union elections, which effectively eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing drives, and also opposes raising the minimum wage, preferring a “more robust economy” to allow people to earn more than what they would on minimum wage.

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Gilmore supports both drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore drilling but believes the U.S. should seek development of alternative energy sources while continuing to drill for oil. He has stated that coal is the “U.S.’s greatest resources in competition with the rest of the world,” and supports further development of nuclear power to increase America’s energy independence.

He opposed cap-and-trade legislation through his work with the nonprofit Free Congress Foundation and expressed skepticism of global warming and climate change, saying, “We know the climate is changing, but we do not know for sure how much is caused by man and how much is part of a natural cycle change. I do believe we must work toward reducing emissions without damaging our fragile economy.”

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Gilmore submitted a balanced budget every year he was governor of Virginia, while state spending soared by 43 percent during his term. In a 2010 op-ed he urged congressional Republicans to adopt “zero based” budgeting, as opposed to “baseline” budgeting that many believe drives up spending.He criticized the Ryan-Murray federal budget as a “sideshow,” saying it would “rip open sequester cuts, increase domestic spending $63 billion above the caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.” However, he had previously encouraged the GOP to compromise to prevent the sequester cuts from going through  and has insisted that the sequester cuts “must not apply to the defense establishment.”

Gilmore opposes the idea of states declaring bankruptcy as a means of dealing with state budget and state entitlement problems.

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Gilmore has a somewhat inconsistent record on health care. He opposes Obamacare, having characterized it as a “significant problem” that is “unworkable” and that “tamps down [economic] growth” and a “radical experiment” “trying to socialize all medicine in the United States.” He has said he would seek to eliminate Obamacare as president. He has, however, expressed support for retaining provisions of Obamacare that cover pre-existing conditions and that allow children to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old.

Gilmore says he supports free market solutions to health care for most people, and “liberating the private enterprise system” to make health care affordable to more people.

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported increasing Medicaid funding for the state. He criticized the Medicaid Part D prescription drug benefit for increasing spending.

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In 2005, Gilmore supported President George W. Bush’s proposal on Social Security reform, which called for optional private accounts for those under age 55 funded by diverting part of the current payroll tax. He has called for capping entitlement benefits to help create “a culture of independence,” and has expressed support for possibly raising the retirement age for Social Security. He has also called the idea of means testing for Social Security benefits “immoral.”

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported the federal welfare reform measures of the 1990s.

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As a one-term governor Gilmore has rarely spoken on trade issues, but he did support tariffs on of subsidized Canadian lumber being imported into the U.S.

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Gilmore has said he supports increased control of the border,  and opposes a “general unified amnesty” for illegal immigrants already in the country, although he has also said it is “unrealistic” to expect that the majority of illegal aliens currently in the country can be deported. Instead he favors giving current illegal immigrants a legal status that does not include a path to citizenship.

In a 2014 interview, he said, “The main thing is for the Republican Party to send a message that we’re concerned about our security on the southern border, that we want to have legislation that is welcoming to Hispanic community which is adding so much to the United States, but doesn’t just create open borders where we’re totally out of control.” He has said he agrees with the consensus view of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects “birthright citizenship” granting American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil regardless of their parents’ citizenship or legal status, and also said “sanctuary cities” are illegal and “must not be permitted.”

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Gilmore has a limited record on agriculture issues, supporting tax incentives to encourage people to become farmers while also suggesting in a 2010 op-ed that farm subsidies be reduced.

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Aside from opposing the bailout of Wall Street in 2008, Gilmore has said relatively little about corporate welfare.

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In 2008, he expressed concern that “taxpayers are being asked to bail out investment companies, banks and real estate firms that allowed their executives to make risky lending decisions,” adding that we “need to restrict these kinds of taxpayer bailouts.”  He added that it is “not appropriate for the taxpayers to be put in a position where their tax dollars are used to bail out companies who made bad business decisions.”

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Gilmore favors increased military spending. He has expressed concern over “the decline of the American national security establishment” and that the “Army is diminished at this point to a dangerous level.” Gilmore has stated that he believes “we ought to have a policy that says that we have the capacity to address two challenges across the world at the same time,” and that because we don’t have that capability now it means “we are understaffed in the United States Army.”

Gilmore also has opposed the sequestration cuts to defense spending, saying that the sequester “must not apply to the defense establishment.”

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Gilmore has called for the need to “send a decisive message here that people who attack Americans and attack American interests will be retaliated against.”

Gilmore has been critical of the foreign policy of both Obama and U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), warning that we can’t have a “pullback foreign policy, which is what the president has been doing — and by the way, what [Republican Sen.] Rand Paul [of Kentucky] has been advocating as well.” Additionally, he has been critical of Obama’s drone policy, in particular the 2015 drone strike that took the lives of two hostages, including one American.

Gilmore supported the Iraq War, and has praised President George W. Bush’s leadership. Of Bush, Gilmore has said, “he’s issuing a message of steadfastness,” that he’s “trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments,” and that he’s “beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.”

Gilmore was, however, critical of the president’s inaction during the Iraq insurgency, stating “the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.” He has also criticized any timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq as “not reasonable” and “not the way to be conducting foreign policy in Iraq.”

Gilmore has expressed a concern that “our enemies don’t fear us anymore, and our allies don’t trust us anymore.”

Gilmore has made conflicting statements on the Patriot Act. Initially, Gilmore opposed the Patriot Act as “over-reactive” and expressed concern that “our civil freedoms might be impinged upon.” He has recently stated that he is “in favor of most of the Patriot Act now” but that he has concerns “about a lack of oversight.” He has said, “we have a duty to be watchful” of abuses, “particularly if Patriot Act II comes along.”

He has characterized national security information leaker Edward Snowden as “a traitor and a coward,”  and has expressed concern that Snowden’s actions “create danger” like the Boston Marathon bombing. Gilmore, however, has asserted that despite his criticisms of Snowden, he is not in favor of the NSA’s surveillance programs. He says he opposes “the National Security Agency spying on all of our personal emails or our correspondence”  and believes that “the NSA has caused irreparable damage to the trust in our government institutions by impeding our civil liberties and, most likely, lying to Congress.”

While governor he chaired two congressional advisory commissions, one on electronic commerce and the other assessing the risk of a terrorist attack in the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction.

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Gilmore has expressed a concern that “our enemies don’t fear us anymore, and our allies don’t trust us anymore.”

Gilmore was highly critical of Obama’s push for a nuclear deal, saying that “by readying an agreement with Iran on the future of its nuclear weapons program, the president is pursuing a policy that could readily and comprehensively destabilize the Middle East or, worse still, give Iran a clear path to nuclear dominance of the entire region.” After the deal with Iran was announced, he called it dangerous and risky, and suggested that as president he would seek to build a “new NATO in the Middle East,” consisting of nations including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other relatively friendly nations, to counter Iranian power. He also said the new security organization could deal with ISIS, and that American special forces could be used to help fight the terrorist organization.

Gilmore was also critical of the letter sent to Iranian leaders by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and co-signed by 47 Senate Republicans, saying he didn’t think it was “constructive.”

He has cited both Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and China’s moves in the South China Sea as constituting part of an “international emergency.” In response to Russian actions, he has said he would send American troops to the Baltic nations to deter further aggression by Putin and favors aid short of sending military forces to support Ukraine.

Gilmore has said that America needs “an active and decisive foreign policy and national security policy to shape the world to make sure that it is not a threat to the existence and safety of Americans.” He has stressed the importance of “a forward-leaning foreign policy and national security policy,” adding that “[w]e are the only people that can provide stability in the 21st century — the way we did in the 20th — and we are not doing that.” And he has called for the need to “send a decisive message here that people who attack Americans and attack American interests will be retaliated against.”

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Gilmore says he doesn’t believe in litmus tests for judges, “except for this: I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law, and not try to make the law.” He says he believes the Supreme Court is “being converted into some kind of political body,” and that “they have to have some kind of legal basis and precedents for being able to follow the law.”

During his brief 2008 presidential campaign, Gilmore said, “I’m going to appoint judges who will not make law from the bench and who will not carry out societal norms by virtue of twisting up the law and therefore undermining people’s confidence in the law. … I will attempt to appoint strict constructionists.”

Gilmore opposes the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, believing that it was “wrongly decided” and that it’ll be “the greatest day in this country’s history when that, in fact, is overturned.”

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Gilmore serves on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association and has vowed that as president he would protect Second Amendment rights, writing in an op-ed “There is far too much violent crime in America. But that fact does not arise from the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. The real reasons for violent crime – especially crimes in which guns are used – is that it’s easier for politicians to huff and puff about the need for more gun control rather than deal with the real problems. You can see that in cities such as Baltimore and New York where the mayors scorn the police and don’t want to face the facts that are causing their people to suffer from so much crime.”

Following a double murder in Roanoke, Va., in 2015 Gilmore said the focus needs to be on better identification and treatment of people with mental illness.

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Gilmore describes himself as pro-life, but has also stated in the past that he supports a right to abortion in the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy.  He has added that he believes that abortion before the 8-week point is not “OK” but that he doesn’t believe that it should be legally prohibited. While governor of Virginia Gilmore championed and helped to pass laws requiring informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, as well as a parental notification law for abortions for anyone under the age of 18.  Gilmore also helped to pass a law prohibiting partial-birth abortion in Virginia. He has said he favors overturning Roe v. Wade and believes states should be able to set their own policies on abortion.

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During the 2008 Virginia U.S. Senate race, Gilmore said he opposes both gay marriage and civil unions. He has not yet indicated whether he favors a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling establishing same-sex marriage as a right.

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Gilmore celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, saying the “decision to strike down Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate ensures that individuals are able to conduct their business in accordance with their beliefs and that the Obama Administration’s assault on religious liberty has gone too far.”

Gilmore has expressed support for the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, saying it’s “fine because it talks about free speech and the ability to give money as a product of that speech.”

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Gilmore opposes the Common Core federal education standards, and has been critical of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) for his support of the program. While governor of Virginia, Gilmore called for a statewide voucher program for the state.

He has expressed concern about the current state of student loan debt but has emphasized addressing the issue on the cost-of-tuition side of the equation. He has said we need “an honest conversation about costs and expenses at the college level,” and “[m]ost importantly, we need to get people more prosperous so they are not at the mercy of a loan program.” He has also called for increased government oversight of college and university spending, stating that “the more money to make available to higher education, the more money they will take. And that means that tuitions are going up and up and up.”

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore cut state college and university tuition by 20 percent and froze tuition at the reduced level.

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Gilmore has consistently opposed raising taxes and has been a proponent of cutting taxes. In 1997, he made eliminating Virginia’s car tax a centerpiece of his campaign for governor. After winning the election, Gilmore succeeded in getting the car tax repealed and fought his own Republican-led legislature to continue its implementation. According to budget documents, it was the largest tax relief passed in Virginia history.

Gilmore chaired the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, which was tasked with examining the possibility of an Internet tax. The report of Gilmore’s committee recommended against imposing any Internet taxes, which Gilmore also personally opposes.

He has long advocated for across-the-board tax cuts to help spur economic growth. He supported keeping the Bush-era tax cuts, and opposes the creation of a value-added tax or national sales tax. He has also been critical of the alternative minimum tax for driving people into higher tax brackets.

Gilmore recently proposed flattening the federal income tax into three brackets of 10 percent, 15 percent, and 25 percent. He supports reducing the corporate tax rate to a simplified 15 percent rate. And he has proposed completely eliminating the estate tax, also known as the death tax.

He is a signer of the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Gilmore signed an executive order as governor directing state agencies to consider the impact of regulations on family stability, including their impact on family income. A 2001 article in The Washington Post observed that “Gilmore groans about excessive regulation” but there is little record that it was a focus of his governorship.

Gilmore submitted a balanced budget every year he was governor of Virginia, while state spending soared by 43 percent during his term. In a 2010 op-ed he urged congressional Republicans to adopt “zero based” budgeting, as opposed to “baseline” budgeting that many believe drives up spending.He criticized the Ryan-Murray federal budget as a “sideshow,” saying it would “rip open sequester cuts, increase domestic spending $63 billion above the caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.” However, he had previously encouraged the GOP to compromise to prevent the sequester cuts from going through  and has insisted that the sequester cuts “must not apply to the defense establishment.”

Gilmore has also criticized the GOP for caring more about cutting spending than about encouraging rapid economic growth, saying, “They think spending is the most important thing. It’s not.”

He has characterized raising the debt ceiling as “deadbeating” on the nation’s obligations.

Gilmore opposes the idea of states declaring bankruptcy as a means of dealing with state budget and state entitlement problems.

As governor, Gilmore supported Virginia’s long-standing right-to-work legislation and fought against the use of “Project Labor Agreements” in state-funded projects, which drive up the cost of projects by mandating union wages and work rules.

He is opposed to card check union elections, which effectively eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing drives, and also opposes raising the minimum wage, preferring a “more robust economy” to allow people to earn more than what they would on minimum wage.

Gilmore supports both drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore drilling but believes the U.S. should seek development of alternative energy sources while continuing to drill for oil. He has stated that coal is the “U.S.’s greatest resources in competition with the rest of the world,” and supports further development of nuclear power to increase America’s energy independence.

He opposed cap-and-trade legislation through his work with the nonprofit Free Congress Foundation and expressed skepticism of global warming and climate change, saying, “We know the climate is changing, but we do not know for sure how much is caused by man and how much is part of a natural cycle change. I do believe we must work toward reducing emissions without damaging our fragile economy.”

As a one-term governor Gilmore has rarely spoken on trade issues, but he did support tariffs on of subsidized Canadian lumber being imported into the U.S..

Gilmore has a somewhat inconsistent record on health care. He opposes Obamacare, having characterized it as a “significant problem” that is “unworkable” and that “tamps down [economic] growth” and a “radical experiment” “trying to socialize all medicine in the United States.” He has said he would seek to eliminate Obamacare as president. He has, however, expressed support for retaining provisions of Obamacare that cover pre-existing conditions and that allow children to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old.

Gilmore says he supports free market solutions to health care for most people, and “liberating the private enterprise system” to make health care affordable to more people.

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported increasing Medicaid funding for the state. He criticized the Medicaid Part D prescription drug benefit for increasing spending.

In 2005, Gilmore supported President George W. Bush’s proposal on Social Security reform, which called for optional private accounts for those under age 55 funded by diverting part of the current payroll tax. He has called for capping entitlement benefits to help create “a culture of independence,”  and has expressed support for possibly raising the retirement age for Social Security. He has also called the idea of means testing for Social Security benefits “immoral.”

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore supported the federal welfare reform measures of the 1990s.

Gilmore has said he supports increased control of the border,  and opposes a “general unified amnesty” for illegal immigrants already in the country, although he has also said it is “unrealistic” to expect that the majority of illegal aliens currently in the country can be deported. Instead he favors giving current illegal immigrants a legal status that does not include a path to citizenship.

In a 2014 interview, he said, “The main thing is for the Republican Party to send a message that we’re concerned about our security on the southern border, that we want to have legislation that is welcoming to Hispanic community which is adding so much to the United States, but doesn’t just create open borders where we’re totally out of control.” He has said he agrees with the consensus view of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects “birthright citizenship” granting American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil regardless of their parents’ citizenship or legal status, and also said “sanctuary cities” are illegal and “must not be permitted.”

Gilmore has a limited record on agriculture issues, supporting tax incentives to encourage people to become farmers while also suggesting in a 2010 op-ed that farm subsidies be reduced.

In 2008, he expressed concern that “taxpayers are being asked to bail out investment companies, banks and real estate firms that allowed their executives to make risky lending decisions,” adding that we “need to restrict these kinds of taxpayer bailouts.”  He added that it is “not appropriate for the taxpayers to be put in a position where their tax dollars are used to bail out companies who made bad business decisions.”

He has asserted that Washington “fell asleep at the switch” on financial oversight leading up to the 2008 crash.

Aside from opposing the bailout of Wall Street in 2008, Gilmore has said relatively little about corporate welfare.

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Gilmore favors increased military spending. He has expressed concern over “the decline of the American national security establishment” and that the “Army is diminished at this point to a dangerous level.” Gilmore has stated that he believes “we ought to have a policy that says that we have the capacity to address two challenges across the world at the same time,” and that because we don’t have that capability now it means “we are understaffed in the United States Army.”

Gilmore also has opposed the sequestration cuts to defense spending, saying that the sequester “must not apply to the defense establishment.”

Gilmore has said that America needs “an active and decisive foreign policy and national security policy to shape the world to make sure that it is not a threat to the existence and safety of Americans.” He has stressed the importance of “a forward-leaning foreign policy and national security policy,” adding that “[w]e are the only people that can provide stability in the 21st century — the way we did in the 20th — and we are not doing that.” And, he has called for the need to “send a decisive message here that people who attack Americans and attack American interests will be retaliated against.”

Gilmore has been critical of the foreign policy of both Obama and U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), warning that we can’t have a “pullback foreign policy, which is what the president has been doing — and by the way, what [Republican Sen.] Rand Paul [of Kentucky] has been advocating as well.” Additionally, he has been critical of Obama’s drone policy, in particular the 2015 drone strike that took the lives of two hostages, including one American.

Gilmore has made conflicting statements on the Patriot Act. Initially, Gilmore opposed the Patriot Act as “over-reactive” and expressed concern that “our civil freedoms might be impinged upon.” He has recently stated that he is “in favor of most of the Patriot Act now” but that he has concerns “about a lack of oversight.” He has said, “we have a duty to be watchful” of abuses, “particularly if Patriot Act II comes along.”

He has characterized national security information leaker Edward Snowden as “a traitor and a coward,”  and has expressed concern that Snowden’s actions “create danger” like the Boston Marathon bombing. Gilmore, however, has asserted that despite his criticisms of Snowden, he is not in favor of the NSA’s surveillance programs. He says he opposes “the National Security Agency spying on all of our personal emails or our correspondence”  and believes that “the NSA has caused irreparable damage to the trust in our government institutions by impeding our civil liberties and, most likely, lying to Congress.”

Gilmore supported the War in Iraq, and has praised President George W. Bush’s leadership. Of Bush, Gilmore has said, “he’s issuing a message of steadfastness,” that he’s “trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments,” and that he’s “beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.”

Gilmore was, however, critical of the president’s inaction during the Iraq insurgency, stating “the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.” He has also criticized any timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq as “not reasonable” and “not the way to be conducting foreign policy in Iraq.”

Gilmore has expressed a concern that “our enemies don’t fear us anymore, and our allies don’t trust us anymore.”

Gilmore was highly critical of Obama’s push for a nuclear deal, saying that “by readying an agreement with Iran on the future of its nuclear weapons program, the president is pursuing a policy that could readily and comprehensively destabilize the Middle East or, worse still, give Iran a clear path to nuclear dominance of the entire region.” After the deal with Iran was announced, he called it dangerous and risky, and suggested that as president he would seek to build a “new NATO in the Middle East,” consisting of nations including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other relatively friendly nations, to counter Iranian power. He also said the new security organization could deal with ISIS, and that American special forces could be used to help fight the terrorist organization.

Gilmore was also critical of the letter sent to Iranian leaders by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and co-signed by 47 Senate Republicans, saying he didn’t think it was “constructive.”

He has cited both Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and China’s moves in the South China Sea as constituting part of an “international emergency.” In response to Russian actions, he has said he would send American troops to the Baltic nations to deter further aggression by Putin and favors aid short of sending military forces to support Ukraine.

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In a 2015 TV interview and town hall, Gilmore was critical of what he saw as Obama’s lack of a belief in American exceptionalism, saying:

“I think the White House does not think we’re an exceptional nation, and I believe we are. I think we are the one people who can actually stand up for western values, democracy, the advancement of women, the rule of law, a free market system.”

Gilmore says he doesn’t believe in litmus tests for judges, “except for this: I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law, and not try to make the law.” He says he believes the Supreme Court is “being converted into some kind of political body,” and that “they have to have some kind of legal basis and precedents for being able to follow the law.”

During his brief 2008 presidential campaign, Gilmore said, “I’m going to appoint judges who will not make law from the bench and who will not carry out societal norms by virtue of twisting up the law and therefore undermining people’s confidence in the law. …I will attempt to appoint strict constructionists.”

Gilmore opposes the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, believing that it was “wrongly decided” and that it’ll be “the greatest day in this country’s history when that, in fact, is overturned.”

On affirmative action, Gilmore has said he doesn’t support quotas, “but all during my career I have worked to create opportunities for minorities.” As governor he signed legislation establishing Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday. Previously it had been celebrated along with the birth dates of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.

Gilmore supports the death penalty “because it sets a standard that says that we will not tolerate these ghastly murders that not only kill people, but destroy families forever.” During Gilmore’s term as Virginia governor, 37 people were executed.

Gilmore intervened in two death penalty cases during his term. In 1999 he granted executive clemency to Calvin Swann on the basis of mental illness. In 2000 Gilmore ordered DNA testing in the case of Earl Washington Jr., who had been convicted of murder and was waiting execution on death row, and commuted his sentence to life in prison. After DNA testing implicated a person other than Washington in the crime, Gilmore issued a full pardon.

He supports the continuation of, and increased funding for, the war on drugs. He has said he believes that “illegal drugs are not an acceptable part of our society.”

As governor Gilmore issued an executive order requiring all new regulations be examined for their impact on the family, specifically whether it would “strengthen or erode the authority and rights of parents in the education, nurturing, and supervision of their children… encourage or discourage economic self-sufficiency, self-pride, and the assumption of responsibility for oneself, one’s spouse, and one’s children and/or elderly parents… strengthen or erode the marital commitment; and… increase or decrease disposable family income.”

Gilmore praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, saying the “decision to strike down Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate ensures that individuals are able to conduct their business in accordance with their beliefs and that the Obama Administration’s assault on religious liberty has gone too far.”

He has criticized the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, saying he believes eliminating it is necessary for candidates without larger personal wealth to win the presidential nomination.He has also expressed support for the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, saying it’s “fine because it talks about free speech and the ability to give money as a product of that speech.”

Gilmore opposes the Common Core federal education standards, and has been critical of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) for his support of the program. While governor of Virginia, Gilmore called for a statewide voucher program for the state.

He has expressed concern about the current state of student loan debt but has emphasized addressing the issue on the cost-of-tuition side of the equation. He has said we need “an honest conversation about costs and expenses at the college level,” and “[m]ost importantly, we need to get people more prosperous so they are not at the mercy of a loan program.” He has also called for increased government oversight of college and university spending, stating that “the more money to make available to higher education, the more money they will take. And that means that tuitions are going up and up and up.”

While governor of Virginia, Gilmore cut state college and university tuition by 20 percent and froze tuition at the reduced level.

Gilmore serves on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association and has vowed that as president he would protect Second Amendment rights, writing in an op-ed “There is far too much violent crime in America. But that fact does not arise from the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. The real reasons for violent crime – especially crimes in which guns are used – is that it’s easier for politicians to huff and puff about the need for more gun control rather than deal with the real problems. You can see that in cities such as Baltimore and New York where the mayors scorn the police and don’t want to face the facts that are causing their people to suffer from so much crime.”

Following a double murder in Roanoke, Va., in 2015 Gilmore said the focus needs to be on better identification and treatment of people with mental illness.

Gilmore describes himself as pro-life, but has also stated in the past that he supports a right to abortion in the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy.  He has added that he believes that abortion before the 8-week point is not “OK” but that he doesn’t believe that it should be legally prohibited. While governor of Virginia Gilmore championed and helped to pass laws requiring informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, as well as a parental notification law for abortions for anyone under the age of 18.  Gilmore also helped to pass a law prohibiting partial-birth abortion in Virginia. He has said he favors overturning Roe v. Wade and believes states should be able to set their own policies on abortion.

During the 2008 Virginia U.S. Senate race, Gilmore said he opposes both gay marriage and civil unions. He has not yet indicated whether he favors a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling establishing same-sex marriage as a right.

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Throughout his time as governor, and his subsequent campaigns, Gilmore has remained largely consistent on most issues.

After having been propelled, in part, to victory in the governor’s race by his pledge to reduce and eventually eliminate Virginia’s car tax, Gilmore worked with the GOP-controlled legislature to pass legislation that phased out the tax over five years. Faced with diminishing revenues and the economic decline that followed the September 11th terrorist attacks, the legislature sought to pull back on the scheduled phase-out of the tax but Gilmore insisted the phase-out continue as planned — and the legislature had to wait until after Gilmore left office to end the phase-out. He also kept his other major promise, to hire 4,000 new school teachers.

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During his 2008 campaign Gilmore submitted inaccurate information on his campaign financial disclosure forms that hid ties to a government contractor that was alleged to have conspired to defraud the federal government by securing fraudulent government contracts in Iraq. The forms Gilmore submitted claimed he was a board member of Windmill International, based in Nashua, N.H. He was actually a board member of an identically named but entirely unrelated Virginia-based company. Gilmore dismissed the issue as a “clerical error” and had the forms corrected.

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Against some backlash, Gilmore proposed and signed into law legislation that ended Virginia’s Lee-Jackson-King Day — a state holiday honoring Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The legislation created a state holiday for King alone.

Gilmore has not been afraid to stand on principle, with one article reporting on his 2008 U.S. Senate campaign referring to his “aversion to dealmaking and his willingness to buck fellow Republicans” and quoting him as saying he “gave up several years ago trying to defend Republicans…. There are bad Republicans and bad Democrats… I’m not about to sit around and say that if a guy’s got an R on his name and he didn’t do the job that I’m going to stand up for him.”

Gilmore was initially denied admission to the University of Virginia law school despite a steady stream of letters from him updating the admissions team on new skills and commendations he received while in the Army stationed in Germany. He was instead admitted to Richmond University’s law school, but as described in a profile on Wisconsin Public Radio, “…never one to accept defeat, Gilmore headed to Charlottesville instead of Richmond on the first day of classes. [W]hen the first day of classes at U-Va. came around, he was firmly planted in the admissions office of the law school,” and “[t]he dean of admissions remembered all those letters from Germany, and let him in on the spot.”

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After being propelled into office in part on a promise to repeal Virginia’s car tax, Gilmore signed legislation to have the tax phased out over five years. In 1999, Gilmore proposed and signed legislation that reduced tuition at Virginia colleges and universities by 20 percent. He then had tuition frozen at that reduced level. Virginia’s economy also did well during Gilmore’s tenure, adding 200,000 jobs, although the state did enter a recession by the end of his term as a result on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Both during his time as governor and following his term, Gilmore served in several leadership positions. He was named chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 2001, and served there until January 2002. Gilmore’s time in that role, however, was marked by conflict and political defeats. While he was RNC chair, the Democrats won both gubernatorial elections held in 2001, including in Gilmore’s state of Virginia. Gilmore also experienced tension and conflict with the George W. Bush White House. He was criticized for not being aggressive enough in promoting Bush’s agenda. This led to conflicts between Gilmore and officials in the Bush White House, and eventually to his resignation as RNC chairman. He did leave the RNC in strong financial shape however, well ahead of the Democratic National Committee in cash on hand.

He has served since 2009 as president of the Free Congress Foundation. Additionally, Gilmore served as chairman of two congressional advisory commissions, one on electronic commerce and the other assessing the risk of a terrorist attack in the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction.

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Gilmore won his first two statewide elections handily. In 1993, he defeated Democrat Bill Dolan 56-44 percent to become Virginia attorney general. He defeated incumbent Democrat Lt. Governor Don Beyer in the 1997 Virginia gubernatorial race by a margin of 56-43 percent. He was trounced in his last statewide election by 65-34 percent and by a margin of more than 1.1 million votes, losing the 2008 U.S. Senate race to former Democrat Gov. Mark Warner. President Barack Obama only defeated John McCain in Virginia by a little less than 235,000 votes and Gilmore lost counties that are typically reliably Republican.

Gilmore fared poorly in his 2008 presidential campaign, raising less than $400,000.

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Gilmore’s communications skills are relatively modest. During his 1997 race for governor both he and his Democratic opponent were described by The Washington Post as “pallid,” “listless,” “lackluster,” and “lifeless.” He did little to distinguish himself in the three GOP candidate debates he participated in during the 2008 nomination process, and his appearance at the Fox News event for the bottom seven GOP candidates in August 2015 failed to show much improvement.

A generally laudatory profile of him in 2008 noted that “Gilmore’s unflinching pursuit of his goals, coupled with a public reserve that borders on stiffness, has sometimes unsettled his natural allies and earned him a reputation as arrogant, confrontational and vindictive.”

According to a Washington Post article describing his time as governor, “Gilmore punished those who did not support him by firing them, removing their spouses from appointed boards and vetoing pet projects.”

 

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After winning his first two statewide elections in Virginia Gilmore lost his most recent election in historic fashion, the 2008 U.S. Senate race against former Democratic Governor Mark Warner.  Before that Gilmore dropped out of the 2008 presidential campaign after generating little interest in his candidacy.

During the 2008 Senate race Gilmore became embroiled in a controversy after he submitted inaccurate information on his campaign financial disclosure forms concealing his ties to a government contractor that allegedly conspired to defraud the federal government.  Gilmore dismissed the issue as a “clerical error” and had the forms corrected.

Gilmore was criticized for his performance as Republican National Committee chairman, which ended with his resignation after one year (chairs normally serve a two-year term). He reportedly had a contentious relationship with the George W. Bush White House, and was criticized for not being aggressive in promoting the President’s agenda.  Republicans also lost two major gubernatorial elections in states where they had previously held the governor’s mansion, including Virginia.

Gilmore also experienced a controversial episode during his governorship with the case of Hugh Finn.  In 1998, Gilmore fought a court decision giving Michele Finn the right to remove life support from her coma-stricken husband, Hugh Finn.  Gilmore lost the legal battle, and the state of Virginia was ordered to pay Michele Finn’s legal and court costs.

Gilmore has been largely absent from the national political scene since leaving the Virginia governor’s office and RNC chairmanship, aside from his brief presidential bid in 2007 and crushing U.S. Senate election loss in 2008.

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Jim Gilmore receives a high mark for consistency and low marks for effectiveness.

Gilmore is a principled individual and remained consistent on issues before, during and after his governorship. He receives a lower score for political skills, given his recent losses in Virginia and poor showing in 2008. He is not considered a dynamic speaker and is seen as somewhat confrontational. State spending grew significantly while he was governor.

He has no scandals to point to and is reliable on conservative issues. He accomplished much while governor, including repealing the state car tax. He has held many leadership positions in the GOP universe, including chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

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Gilmore lacks fundraising ability and shows zero momentum as a viable candidate. His solid political experience is overshadowed by his inability to overcome perceived irrelevancy in the race for the Republican nomination.

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