WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) — Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has announced he’s dropping out of the presidential race, after being the only candidate not to make the cut for Saturday’s GOP debate.
“My campaign was intended to offer the gubernatorial experience, with the track record of a true conservative, experienced in national security, to unite the party,” Gilmore told The Washington Examiner on Friday. “My goal was to focus on the importance of this election as a real turning point, and to emphasize the dangers of continuing on a road that will further undermine America’s economy and weaken our national security.
“Nonetheless, I will continue to express my concerns about the dangers of electing someone who has pledged to continue Obama’s disastrous policies,” he continued. “And, I will continue to doeverything I can to ensure that our next President is a free enterprise Republican who will restore our nation to greatness and keep our citizens safe.”
Gilmore’s departure is only surprising due to how long he lasted in the race. Outlasting low-polling candidates — who still polled higher than he — like former New York Gov. George Pataki, Wisconson Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — and more recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.
Saturday’s debate in Greenville, S.C., would have been the seventh that Gilmore was not invited to, because he consistently polled at less than one percent. In Iowa and New Hampshire, he got zero percent of the vote.
After Graham’s exit — as well as former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb’s exit from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — Gilmore was the last veteran running for president.