A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore made a rare visit to South Carolina on Tuesday as he traveled to Columbia to make his low-budget longshot run for president official.
Gilmore made a trip to the state GOP headquarters in Columbia and submitted the required paperwork for the 2016 South Carolina Republican Primary ballot next February. He also paid the required $40,000 filing fee. Gilmore has arguably gotten the least exposure among the 15 major candidates in the GOP race and was not invited to either the FOX News or CNN debates. There have been more than a few polls that have not even listed him as a candidate.
However, the former governor insisted he is serious about running, despite not holding any campaign events at all prior to this month. During comments to reporters Tuesday, he challenged a Washington Post story about his lack of apparent campaigning. “I’m not doing theater activities,” he said. “I’m reaching out into specific campaigning within the strategy that I am doing.”
He also portrayed himself as an outsider, saying every other candidate invited to the two debates so far had been “picked by the press in order to promote them.”
“Just the fact that I’m an outsider doesn’t mean that I’m an amateur,” he said, pointing to his four-year term as Virginia’s chief executive from 1998 to 2002. Gilmore has been active in politics since leaving elected office, briefly leading the Republican National Committee in the early 2000s and chairing a government commission investigating the potential for domestic terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He also ran for president for just a few months in the 2008 primary before dropping out.
— Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign also filed on Tuesday. Sen. Paul’s wife Kelley filed on his behalf as rumors persist that Paul’s campaign may not last out the year. One of the three super PACs supporting his presidential campaign ceased fundraising this week, with its overseer telling Politico that he was no longer going to raise money for a “futile crusade.” Paul’s campaign is also struggling in the polls, receiving only 3 percent support in a national NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released on Sunday.
Kelley Paul also spent Monday in South Carolina, delivering the keynote address at the Hilton Head Island Women’s Club and speaking to prospective voters with the Richland County Republican Party later in the day.
— The moves mean former New York governor George Pataki is the only remaining Republican not to have filed by Wednesday’s deadline. SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore said Pataki’s campaign will “overnight” his documents Tuesday in time for the deadline. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has also filed, even though he dropped out of the race last week.