- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore says he is looking forward to taking part in Thursday’s early debate, making the case that the so-called “kiddie’s table” could prove to be a better venue for having an adult conversation on the nation’s most pressing issues.

Mr. Gilmore is among the seven Republican candidates that are being relegated to the 5 p.m. debate, after failing to qualifying for the prime time event four hours later, which Fox is limiting to 10 candidates based on an average of national polls.

“I am very pleased to be included in the 5 o’clock debate,” Mr. Gilmore said Wednesday. “It may be a better chance of being substantive, if you look at the people in the second-tier debate.”

The 65-year-old, who served as governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, is set to square off against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

“I think it has a possibility of being showmanship versus substance, and I am happy to be in a place where there will be substance,” Mr. Gilmore said of the back-to-back candidate events.

Mr. Gilmore said he is pushing to restore the nation’s strength in part by beefing up the military and pursuing policies to spur more economic growth.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mrs. Fiorina downplayed the importance of missing the prime-time debate, chalking it up to national polls being primarily a measure of name ID.

“About 40 percent of Republicans have heard my name. In other words, a vast majority of Republican voters, never mind Americans, still don’t know who I am,” she said. “So that’s not unexpected, considering I’m not a professional politician.

“Also, you know, in 2007 I think Rudy Giuliani was burning up the polls,” she said, alluding to the former New York City mayor. “As you point out, you have a long way to go here. It’s a long race. And I’ll look forward to the ‘happy hour’ debate.”

Mr. Gilmore shared a similar sentiment, saying Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the polls, is well-known because of the time he spent hosting the reality television show “The Apprentice.”

He also noted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is benefiting from his family ties to two former presidents — his father, George H.W. Bush, and brother, George W. Bush.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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