Meet Jim Gilmore: Everything You Need to Know (And Probably Didn't Know) About the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

PHOTO: Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore speaks at a Republican Leadership Summit, April 17, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. PlayAP Photo
WATCH Jim Gilmore In A Minute

Full name: James S. "Jim" Gilmore III

Party: Republican

What he does now: Gilmore serves as a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. He’s also the President and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1977.

What he used to do: He served as the governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. He chaired the Republican National Convention from January to December of 2001. Gilmore was elected as Virginia’s attorney general in 1993. And after graduating college in 1971, Gilmore joined the Army and worked as an intelligence officer until 1974.

Declared as a candidate: On July 29, 2015, Gilmore filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commissions.

In his own words: “I am committed to addressing the central problems facing the nation.”

Family tree: Gilmore grew up in a working class area of Richmond. His father was a butcher and his mother was a church secretary.

Double legacy: Gilmore completed both his undergraduate and his law degrees at the University of Virginia.

Claim to fame: Gilmore headed the Gilmore Commission during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The commission’s purpose was to advise presidents on how to handle terrorist incidents in the U.S. that involved weapons of mass destruction. He was also Virginia’s governor during the September 11 terrorist attacks when a plane flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

Might have wished for a do-over: Gilmore resigned from his post as RNC chair after less than a year in the position, saying, “Neither I nor my family can see any light at the end of this tunnel,” according to The Washington Post. While President George W. Bush called Gilmore a, “close friend and valuable ally,” his departure came after two gubernatorial losses for the GOP in the same year.

Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Gilmore sharply criticized President Obama’s comparison of the brutality of ISIS militants to actions committed by Christians during the medieval Crusades, calling the president’s comments, “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” He told the New York Times that Obama had “offended every believing Christian in the United States.”

A bilingual president: Jim Gilmore is fluent in German. Gilmore was stationed in Germany from 1971 to 1974 doing counter-intelligence work to protect American military bases in Europe.

What could hold him back: Gilmore’s gubernatorial race was won without much fanfare and that could hurt his visibility since the GOP field has several prominent governors-turned-candidates including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. A Washington Post article called his race “the bland leading the bland,” and quoted a University of Virginia political science professor who referred to the race as, “a charisma-free zone.”

Comfort food (and drink): When it comes to favorite foods, Jim Gilmore says his favorite restaurant is Pizza Hut. According to the Washington Post, he drinks Miller Genuine Draft.

Woodwinds in the White House?: According to Gilmore, “All I did in high school was play music.” He played clarinet in several bands during his high school years and served as drum major of his school’s marching band and president of his school’s concert band.