The last Republican governor of Virginia seconded the view of HUMAN EVENTS that his party lost his old job this year because gubernatorial nominee Jerry Kilgore did not campaign hard enough on key conservative issues.
In an exclusive interview with the Washington Times, Jim Gilmore, Republican governor of the Old Dominion from 1997-2001, said Kilgore "was not critical enough of the $1.38 billion tax increase championed by [outgoing Democratic] Gov Mark Warner last year."
In my posting last Friday, HUMAN EVENTS pointed out that Kilgore, who lost to Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine by a 6-percentage point margin statewide, "not only failed to deply the tested conservative issues of taxes, abortion, and guns, but actually seemed to run away from them."
So concerned was Gilmore, who briefly served as chairman of the Republican National Committee after leaving the statehouse, about his party’s inconsistent messages on taxes that he told the Times he plans to "speak out on these issues and help provide leadership any way I can and speak up on what directon I think the state should be going."
In so doing, Gilmore strongly hinted at his own return to elective politics–possibly as a candidate for the U.S. Senate should six-term GOP incumbent John Warner retire in 2008 or for governor in ’07, when Kaine’s term is up. (Under Virginia law, governors can only serve one consecutive term but seek the office again after sitting out a term).
"I’m sure I’ll be a candidate at some point," Gilmore told the Times.
Gilmore also contrasted, as HUMAN EVENTS did, Kilgore’s defeat with the triumph of Republican Bill Bolling for lieutenant governor. As this publication pointed out, "Bolling ran on a traditional, no-holds-barred conservative platform. He opposed any new taxes, took a strong pro-life stand, and unabashedly defended the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms." Similarly, Gilmore believes Bolling, according to the Times interview, "delivered the right campaign message."