Gilmore ends White House bid

WASHINGTON – Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his long-shot Republican presidential campaign Saturday, saying he was unable to raise enough money to communicate his conservative vision to Americans.

Gilmore, the son of a butcher who had improbably risen to become a local prosecutor, a state attorney general and a governor of Virginia, dropped out of the crowded GOP primary field a day before reporting that he had raised $211,000 between April and June.

Since January, he had raised $381,000, while his rivals collected tens of millions of dollars.

“You have to build a large organization of people who will raise money for you. That takes years to develop,” Gilmore said Saturday. “While the other candidates are raising tens of millions, we were raising hundreds of thousands. We would have to change that paradigm to stay in this race.”

That reality seemed clear to observers when Gilmore announced his candidacy in January. A one-term governor who had been out of office since 2001, Gilmore was a virtual unknown outside of Virginia and lacked a national organization.

But he could, and did, boast about his resume. As governor, he led a tax-cutting crusade and a party-building effort that won him the admiration of conservatives. In addition, Gilmore served a year as chairman of the Republican National Committee after being selected by President Bush.

Gilmore’s real strength, however, has always been his absolute certainty about his own ideas and beliefs. That gave him the courage to present himself in his presidential campaign as an alternative to politicians with far more experience and far more national recognition.

“I think I have the record and credentials to actually be the president,” Gilmore said Saturday. “We think there is a need for a consistent conservative in the race. We think the Republican Party ought to nominate one.”

Gilmore said he will consider running for the U.S. Senate in 2008 if Sen. John Warner decides to retire.

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