That behind-the-scenes role continued during the early 1990s, when Kilgore became chairman of the 9th District Republican Party and worked on behalf of Allen's campaign for governor. When Allen won, he asked Kilgore to serve as secretary of public safety.
Using that law-and-order platform, Kilgore ran for the Republican nomination to be attorney general in 1997, finishing second to Mark L. Earley, who went on to win the state's top legal job. But Kilgore credits that race for setting up his unopposed nomination for attorney general in 2001.
Jerry W. Kilgore says he was raised in an intensely political family with deep Republican roots. He could face the likely Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who formally announced his candidacy last week.
(Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
Facts About Jerry W. Kilgore|
Favorite book: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Last book read: "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don't," a business management book by Jim Collins.
Favorite sport to play: Basketball.
Favorite sport to watch: College basketball.
Favorite team: University of Virginia.
First time you knew you wanted to run for public office: 1996.
Most admired person: Ronald Reagan.
Favorite video game: "NCAA Football," Xbox.
How many hours of sleep do you need? Five to six hours.
Does your wife pick out your ties? Absolutely not. I pick out my own ties.
"I was written off as a regional candidate," he said. "We surprised people by carrying all the Richmond suburbs and running even in Northern Virginia."
As attorney general, he focused on drugs, gangs and technology crimes.
Early in Kilgore's term, the executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia secretly listened in on a Democratic conference call.
Kilgore denounced the eavesdropping, and his office reported the executive director to state police. But some Democrats alleged that Kilgore must have known about it in advance. Later, Democrats accused him of looking the other way while crimes related to the eavesdropping scandal were committed. Kaine has been highly critical of Kilgore's performance during that period.
Kilgore has said his office acted quickly to report the eavesdropping to authorities.
Kilgore said that in his announcement speech, he will call for a statewide "performance pay" system for teachers.
"We can make sure everyone gets their 2 to 3 percent raise," he said. "But let's increase the pay for those better teachers."
He also will promise to find money for transportation projects without raising the gas tax, a position that angers many road advocates. He said he is committed to widening Interstate 66 through Arlington and to building a new Potomac River crossing.
"In times like this, when we have surplus in the general fund, let's spend general fund dollars on transportation projects," Kilgore said. "I'm not going to raise the gas tax. That's an outdated, antiquated way of funding roads in the future."