RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore will announce a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination next month.
Gilmore said in a phone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that he plans to announce his candidacy in the first week of August.
Gilmore, who finished his one term as governor in 2002, said his record as a national security expert and a fiscal conservative will help set him apart in a crowded Republican field.
He will likely be the 17th major declared Republican candidate, most of whom have greater name recognition and better financing than Gilmore.
But Gilmore said he’s undeterred by his underdog status.
“I’ll put my background and experience against anyone in the field,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore said he’s been unimpressed with the currently declared candidates’ views on how to improve national security and respond to threats from Russia, China and the Middle East.
“I think the country is in serious danger,” said Gilmore, who favors greater military spending. “Right now we are projecting weakness.”
A former intelligence officer in the Army during the Cold War, Gilmore was governor during the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon in Northern Virginia. He also led a commission appointed by Congress in 1999 to study the threat posed to the U.S. by terrorism.
Gilmore briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2007 and lost a U.S. Senate bid to another former Virginia governor, Mark Warner, in 2008.
Elected as governor in 1997 on a pledge to cut the property tax that local governments in Virginia levy on personal cars, known as the “car tax,” Gilmore said he’ll bring a similar low-tax approach as president.
He said he’s been to the early-voting state of New Hampshire seven times so far this year and plans to return Saturday.