Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia, has decided to add his name to the list of candidates running for president.
But who is Jim Gilmore, you might reasonably ask, and how might his entry to the race affect business owners?
“He’s a non-factor in this race,” says Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy and co-founder of Third Way, a centrist policy think tank in Washington, D.C. “Even in Virginia, where he once served as governor, he registers in the single-digits in public opinion polling.”
Gilmore, who served as governor from 1998 to 2002, has a questionable record with regard to his state’s finances. Although he has said that he left the state with a balanced budget and revenue surplus, some political analysts say he left a deficit of about $3.4 billion.
Under his tenure, the state budget expanded, and included many popular items such as increased funding for public education and some increases to the salaries of state employees and public school teachers. Gilmore also eliminated Virginia’s tax on car sales, which was estimated to cost the state $1.1 billion a year.
Gilmore, who is a board member of the National Rifle Association, joins 16 other Republicans and four Democrats hoping to secure their parties' respective nominations for president.
Leading the list of Republicans are the real estate business magnate Donald Trump, who had 24 percent of his party’s voters in a Washington Post poll conducted between July 16 and July 19. He was followed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who got 13 percent of the vote, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, with 12 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton leads among the Democratic contenders, with 63 percent of the vote, far ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who polls at 12 percent.
A poll conducted by Monmouth University in mid-July shows Gilmore with 0 percent support.
And other political analysts are doubtful that Gilmore will make more than a ripple in the contest.
"He was a drum major in high school, but that’s probably as close as Gilmore comes to leading this band of Republican hopefuls,” says Bill Whalen, a research fellow specializing in California and national politics at the Hoover Institution.
Adds Kessler, Gilmore is more likely to be using his presidential bid to burnish his credentials for a position in the administration of whichever Republican contender snags the top slot.
“This isn’t a run for the presidency, but a job interview for the future nominee,” says Kessler.
A spokesperson for Gilmore was not immediately available to comment.
The first Republican debates begin Thursday, August 6th. Make sure to visit Inc.com for coverage of the events.