Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore Suspends Presidential Campaign - NBC 7 San Diego
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore Suspends Presidential Campaign

Gilmore, elected as Virginia governor in 1997 on an anti-tax pledge, said he will support the eventual Republican nominee

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    Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, speaks during the Republican presidential candidate debate at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.

    Republican Jim Gilmore has suspended his longshot bid for the presidency, the former Virginia governor announced on his Facebook page Friday.

    Gilmore, 66, entered the race last summer but found himself in a crowded field of candidates who had more money and greater name recognition. He finished a distant ninth in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, with fewer than 200 votes, according to unofficial results.

    "I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that our next President is a free enterprise Republican who will restore our nation to greatness and keep our citizens safe," Gilmore said in a statement shared on his page.

    He will support the eventual Republican nominee against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the statement said.

    Born in Virginia, Gilmore served as a prosecutor and attorney general in that state before he was elected governor. He was barred by state law from seeking a second consecutive term. 

    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.

    A former intelligence officer in the Army during the Cold War, Gilmore was governor during the Sept. 11, 2001, 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.

    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 last year that he would bring a similar low-tax approach as president.

    Gilmore noted in his statement released Friday that he was the only remaining veteran in the 2016 presidential race.

    "My campaign was intended to offer the gubernatorial experience, with the track record of a true conservative, experienced in national security, to unite the party," Gilmore said.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.