It's starting to look like the Flat-Earth Republicans in Virginia may get their wish. At this writing, former Gov. Jim Gilmore appears to be the GOP's front-runner to win the nomination to run for the U.S. Senate seat of John Warner, who is retiring at the end of his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. That would likely pit Gilmore against former Gov. Mark Warner.
Seeing Gilmore as one of their own, extreme elements of the Republican Party seem to prefer him over other possible players. Meanwhile, Virginia's Democrats must be delighted that Rep. Tom Davis has withdrawn from the race, leaving Gilmore, with his baggage, poised to capture the GOP convention's nomination next summer.
Now, let's hop aboard the Wayback Machine and examine some of that baggage that would come with a Gilmore campaign:
Two months after its launch, former attorney general Mark Earley lost the race to replace Gilmore, handing the keys to the Governor's Mansion to Mark Warner.
The Gilmore Shark Task Force's findings were made public Dec. 14, 2001. The first sentence: "In more than 390 years since the English settlement of Virginia there had never been a fatal shark attack in Virginia waters until September 1, 2001 when a 10-year old boy named David Peltier was attacked near the Little Island Fishing Pier at Sandbridge."
The report went on to say that sharks usually live in the ocean and every now and then one of them bites a person who is also in the ocean.
Back to the future, it will be interesting to learn what John Hager, the savvy and moderate chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, thinks of a Gilmore run for the Senate. My prediction is that Hager will not stay in that position if Gilmore actually gets the nomination.
So, with his baggage in tow, what about Gilmore in 2008?
It's difficult to think of any Republican whom Mark Warner who had to clean up his predecessor's budget mess, and did a pretty good job of it according to opinion polls would rather run against. S
F.T. Rea is a longtime resident of Richmond. His art, columns, essays, features and photography have appeared under a variety of mastheads. He also publishes SLANTblog and can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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