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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Gilmore eyes 2008 run as 'Reagan conservative'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Calling himself a "Reagan conservative," former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore told CNN Wednesday he plans to form a presidential exploratory committee because the 2008 GOP presidential field is missing a "committed conservative."

"I think there is a void. I think there's a need for a committed conservative who is able to put together a national campaign," Gilmore told CNN's Bill Schneider. "I've been a Reagan conservative my entire political career. My record is definite."

Gilmore, who served as Virginia's governor from 1998-2002, said Republicans have an opportunity "to re-grasp those longstanding principles and issues that have brought us into the opportunity to lead in the past."

Gilmore brushed aside suggestions his low name recognition would hamper his chances, arguing his politics will appeal to a majority of Americans.

"I think that a mainstream conservative can, in fact, draw all those people together and then take that message out to independents and even to Democrats and put together the majorities necessary to bring the country where it should be," he said.

Gilmore was easily elected to Virginia's top post in 1997 on a strong anti-tax platform. Barred by state law from seeking a second term, he served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2001-2002.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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