Update: On Feb. 12, Jim Gilmore announced that he was suspending his campaign for the presidency. He wasn't even including in the majority of polling, and when he was included, he usually garnered zero support. Real Clear Politics didn't even both calculating his polling average, which would have been zero.
But it was fun to imagine a random Jim Gilmore surge. With that in mind, we're republishing this article from Jan. 28, the greatest evening of his political life.
For a while, mixed into the Twitter trending topics with hashtags about Turkey, topics written in Arabic script and a reference to that terrible-looking new spoof of "Fifty Shades of Gray" was a name that was only familiar to people who watch American politics closely: Jim Gilmore.
The former governor of Virginia, making his second appearance in a 2016 Republican debate, inadvertently leveraged that novelty into attention, the one thing that any candidate wants most. People were talking about Jim Gilmore! The guy who hasn't campaigned at all in Iowa and who, from the debate stage in Des Moines, told Iowans to their faces that he was more interested in New Hampshire.
He introduced himself, and people went to Google to see who he was. He talked about being a veteran, and more people went. He talked about foreign policy -- still more. And then, when he made a weird comment complaining about how Carly Fiorina got two questions in a row right before he himself -- good old Jim Gilmore! -- got two questions in a row, people searched for information about Jim Gilmore more than anyone has likely every searched for information about Jim Gilmore before. (Among the most searched questions, naturally, was "who is jim gilmore.") He was having a Gilmoment.
And then Rick Santorum started talking about how doctors had suggested that two of his children not be carried to term. As we have learned so often, nothing drives Google interest like talking about family.
Like a well-oiled light switch, Gilmentum silently flicked off. But for a moment -- for a period between 7:00 and 7:45 Eastern time on Jan. 28, 2016 -- Jim Gilmore was the Republican presidential candidate about whom Americans were most curious.
Except for Donald Trump. Gilmore didn't get close to Trump.