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Jim Gilmore ends campaign for president

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Jim Gilmore abdicated after falling victim to what the polls had said all along: He just couldn't gain traction with voters. (AP Photo)

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced on Friday that he is suspending his campaign for president.

"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 in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner. "My goal was to focus on the importance of this election as a real turning point, and to emphasize the dangers of continuing on a road that will further undermine America's economy and weaken our national security."

"Nonetheless, I will continue to express my concerns about the dangers of electing someone who has pledged to continue Obama's disastrous policies," Gilmore said. "And, 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."

He suspended his campaign after falling victim to what the polls had said all along: Gilmore just couldn't gain traction with voters.

Gilmore entered the race at the end of July, already a long-shot underdog in a field that grew as large as 17 candidates. After South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham exited the GOP contest and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb left the Democratic race, Gilmore was the only veteran remaining, having served as an Army counterintelligence agent during the Cold War.

Gilmore was governor of Virginia from 1998-2002, and was chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2001. While listing his credentials, Gilmore is also quick to mention that he is a member of the board of directors at the National Rifle Association and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.

Gilmore received only 12 votes in the Iowa caucuses, less than all the other major GOP candidates as well as "Other." But Gilmore was undeterred, explaining he spent no time campaigning in the Hawkeye State. He told Iowa radio show "Mickelson in the Morning," "If I get one vote, frankly, in Iowa, I'll consider it a victory."

New Hampshire is where Gilmore decided he would make his stand, after declaring he would bypass Iowa to focus his campaign on the first-in-the-nation primary.

During 21 trips to the Granite State, Gilmore made more than 100 campaign event appearances.

Despite predicting a "surprising finish" for himself in New Hampshire, Gilmore secured only 133 votes (.05 percent), and trailed three candidates who had already dropped from the race: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Gilmore had spent much of his campaign condemning what he calls the "organized establishment" media, which he blamed for largely ignoring his long-shot campaign. Furthermore, he accused the media of selecting favorite candidates and providing them hundreds of hours of free air time.

Gilmore also struggled to reach a national audience from the debate stage, as he qualified for only two debates out of eight.

He failed to qualify for Saturday's debate, which will be the ninth, hosted by CBS.

Gilmore also pinned blame on the RNC, whose partnership with the networks he told the Washington Examiner is "not proper," and that they are driven "by their desire to sell commercials and make money and this is not in the public interest."

After appearing in the undercard event at the first Republican debate in August, Gilmore failed to qualify for the next five debates. He returned to the stage at the end of January, where he again participated in the undercard event with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Santorum and Huckabee. He was barred from the latest debate in New Hampshire.

"The media, through its selective polling and debates, has been trying to winnow the field in New Hampshire's Republican primary since day one," Gilmore said at a campaign event the night of the New Hampshire debate. He and Fiorina both missed the cut.

Though he outlasted 10 major Republican candidates, Gilmore consistently hit the bottom of state and national polls, many of which didn't even mention his name.

Gilmore gave $124,075 in loans to his campaign in 2015, according to Federal Election Commission filings. At the end of the year, his campaign had $33,657.52 on hand. That was after Gilmore added a $32,000 of his own money on the final day of the year, meaning his campaign was down to $1,657.52 before the last-minute loan.