Gilmore ran a short-lived presidential campaign in the first part of 2007. In July 2007, he became the first candidate to withdraw from the race, citing fundraising problems. Before dropping out, his polling numbers lagged far behind the crowded GOP field of contenders despite a reputation for expertise in homeland security issues. He started his career as a U.S. counterintelligence agent in Germany in the 1970s before earning a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1977.
In 1993, Gilmore was elected attorney general for the state of Virginia, a position he held until taking over the governorship in 1998. As governor, Gilmore chaired the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, dubbed the “Gilmore Commission.” That congressionally-mandated panel made a host of recommendations to the government on homeland security and counterterrorism. Gilmore now chairs the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness, which aims to prepare the country for disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terror attacks. In late 2007, Gilmore was mulling a run for the Senate seat to be vacated in 2009 by Sen. John Warner (R-VA). Gilmore maintains a political blog, the Virginia Patriot.
Since exiting the race, Gilmore has endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the Republican nomination.