Gilmore Announces 2008 U.S. Senate Bid

The Associated Press
Monday, November 19, 2007; 7:22 PM

RICHMOND, Va. -- Former GOP Gov. Jim Gilmore announced Monday that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Republican John Warner.

Gilmore's announcement sets up a campaign with another former governor, Democrat Mark R. Warner _ a clash between two men with vastly different views about government and little affection for the other.

Gilmore, 58, made the announcement in a video e-mailed to 5,000 supporters and reporters. It was also posted on YouTube and other Web sites and announced in 70,000 letters mailed to backers Friday.

"I was governor of Virginia when our nation was struck on Sept. 11, and I helped Virginia deal with the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon," Gilmore said in the nearly 4-minute video.

Gilmore said in an interview that he will stress his military and national security background against Mark Warner, who did not serve in the military.

"This is going to be a campaign about national security, about transportation, about education and about illegal immigration," he said. "We don't have to outspend Mark Warner to defeat Mark Warner."

Warner campaign spokesman Kevin Hall said the Democrats will sharpen the contrast between Gilmore's fiscal record and his feud with GOP moderates and Warner's reputation as a businesslike centrist.

"Do they want to be represented by someone with a record of fiscal irresponsibility and extreme partisanship?" Hall said in an e-mail.

John Warner, who is no relation to Mark Warner, said he would wait until after the nominating convention to get involved, but touted Gilmore's "record of extensive, credible public service, both in the U.S. Army and in elected public office."

"After the Party works its will to select nominees for the 2008 congressional offices, however, I will offer to assist candidates with financial support," he said in a statement.

Also on Monday, four-term Del. Christopher B. Saxman said he is exploring a challenge to Gilmore for the GOP nomination. Saxman, 42, is little known outside his Staunton-based district but could complicate Gilmore's efforts to raise money.

Mark Warner, 52, announced his intent to run for the seat in mid-September, just two weeks after John Warner announced his plans to retire after five terms. He raised more than $1.1 million in just 17 days and has a personal fortune of about $200 million.

Gilmore adviser Dick Leggitt said Gilmore would publicly inaugurate his campaign early next year.

© 2007 The Associated Press