by Steven Ertelt
January 10, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has taken the first step in putting together a presidential campaign. In a move to possibly seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2008, Gilmore has established an exploratory committee that will allow him to raise and spend money as he determines if he will officially run.
Gilmore is the sixth Republican to begin an exploratory committee and more are expected to do so as 2008 sees the first wide-open race for president in both parties in decades.
IN comments to the Associated Press, Gilmore said he is considering entering the race because the Republican field lacks a true conservative. That’s despite the possible candidacies of pro-life advocates like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and others.
"I’m here to offer the right program for the people of the United States," Gilmore said. "I’m the type of mainstream Reagan conservative that has always kept his promises."
However, Gilmore, who was elected the state’s governor in 1997, doesn’t take a fully pro-life view of the abortion issue.
During his campaign against Donald Beyer, Gilmore said he personally believed abortion is a matter between a woman and her physician during the first eight to 12 weeks of pregnancy — when a large number of abortions are done. After that, he said he thinks they should be illegal except in cases to save the life of the mother.
Gilmore sided with pro-life advocates on restrictions and limitations on abortion and ran a television commercial about that.
"As governor, I won’t ask taxpayers to pay for abortions. I won’t support late-term abortion," he said in the spot. And I’ll make sure parents are involved whenever a minor child needs to face the terrible decision that abortion involves."
Gilmore followed up on the commercial a year later when he signed a ban on partial-birth abortions into law in April 1998.
Then, in March 2001, Gilmore signed an informed consent measure giving women information on abortion risks and alternatives they don’t normally get from abortion centers.
"I am very pleased that after many years of trying, the House and Senate have finally succeeded in passing legislation to require informed consent and establish a 24-hour waiting period for abortion," Gilmore said before signing the measure.
Despite his position in favor of abortion in the early part of pregnancy, Gilmore told the Evans and Novak program in July 2000 that he favors the Republican Party’s pro-life platform that calls for a human life amendment.
"I support the party platform on the abortion issue," he said. "I think that the Republican Party is setting down a standard, and at the same, they’re providing opportunities for people who feel somewhat differently about the issue to come in and play a role."
"But I think there’s nothing wrong whatsoever, in fact, I think it’s a good thing for the Republican Party to set down a marker and to state their principles very clear, because the people of the United States are looking for clarity of leadership," he added.
Gilmore joins a crowded field of possible Republican presidential candidates.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who opposes abortion but supports embryonic stem cell research funding and pro-abortion former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani lead the field.
Also in the mix are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who recently converted to the pro-life position, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who opposes abortion but backs embryonic stem cell research, and pro-life stalwart Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Pro-life Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, pro-life Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, pro-life former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and pro-life former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are also possible candidates.