- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2016

Former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III ended his presidential bid Friday after a disappointing campaign that saw him fail to get on ballots and collect just 145 votes total between the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary.

The campaign struggled from the start, with slow fundraising and with Mr. Gilmore excluded from even the undercard debates because of poor polling — and he never recovered. His departure from the race leaves just six major candidates left, after an initial field of nearly 20.

He didn’t explain why he decided to drop out now, but said he felt he tried to fill a hole in the field.

“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,” he said in a statement.

It’s the second straight stumble for the former state attorney general and chief executive. He won the governor’s mansion in 2007 on an anti-tax pledge, the famous “No Car Tax” vow. But pushing for the phaseout during his final year as governor led to a budget impasse with Republicans in the state legislature and the GOP’s brand was tarnished.

Mr. Gilmore also was ousted after just a year as Republican National Committee chairman under President George W. Bush after Democrat Mark R. Warner won the Virginia governor’s mansion.

Mr. Gilmore then ran for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat in 2008 but was trounced by Mr. Warner in that race, 65-34.

Mr. Gilmore cast himself as a national security candidate in the presidential election, pointing to his service as chairman of an anti-terror commission in the early part of the last decade.

Low on cash, he didn’t try to campaign in Iowa, and won just 12 votes out of more than 186,000 cast. And then this week he captured just 133 votes in New Hampshire, out of more than 284,000 cast.

He said in his statement Friday that he will support the eventual GOP nominee.

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