“Conservatives not only need a candidate who can beat President Obama, but one who can also put our values into action. That candidate is Mitt Romney,” Gilmore said in a statement that will be released Thursday. “No other candidate in the race has a more detailed plan to get Americans back to work or has a laid out a vision for America’s role in the world.”
Gilmore, a state attorney general, served as governor from 1998 until 2002. He lost the race for U.S. Senate in 2008 to former governor Mark Warner (D) and was later elected president and chief executive of the conservative Free Congress Foundation in Washington.
Gilmore could help Romney shore up support from the Virginia GOP’s more conservative wing. Last month, a Quinnipiac University poll of Virginia showed Romney narrowly trailing former House speaker Newt Gingrich among the state’s Republican voters.
Gilmore, who served as chairman of the Republican National Committee, briefly ran for president in 2008. The GOP field also included Romney.
“Jim has been a longtime voice for spreading conservative values to grow the economy such as cutting taxes, lowering spending and making government more efficient,’’ Romney said. “As an Army veteran, he also understands the need for America to project strength in the world. I look forward to working with Jim, in the months to come, to spread my message of ‘simpler, smaller and smarter’ federal government.”
Only Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) will appear on the Virginia ballot March 6. But the other candidates — Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman — have filed a lawsuit to get on the ballot.
Romney has already announced a leadership team in Virginia, led by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. Other prominent Republicans in the state, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, have stayed out of the race.