Virginia Is Not for Gilmore Lovers

Despite GOP strength, broke ex-gov's Senate bid a 'laughingstock'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 12:28 PM CDT
Mark Warner right, with Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
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(Newser) – Jim Gilmore may be a former governor, RNC chair, and presidential candidate running for Senate in a historically red state, but the Virginian has become Campaign 2008’s “laughingstock,” Politico reports. Virginia is regularly ranked first among Senate seats likely to flip this November, as Gilmore trails hugely popular ex-guv Mark Warner by more than 20 points—and about $5 million in the war chest.

Gilmore barely squeaked past his primary challenger, a socially conservative state legislator, beating him by less than 1 percentage point. Watchers chalk part of the problem up to an embarrassing presidential run, which may have tapped out Gilmore’s  donors. Politico also notes that he clashed with Karl Rove while he was at the RNC, and one strategist finds him lacking elsewhere: “He’s not warm and fuzzy, and he doesn’t inspire.”