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Gilmore Fires Back at Marshall; Demands Apology

Tim Craig

The fight for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate is becoming increasingly heated.

Earlier today, former governor James S. Gilmore III sent out a statement demanding that his opponent for the nomination, Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) apologize for criticizing Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, who endorsed Gilmore yesterday.

As reported by the Virginia Politics blog, Marshall said yesterday that Bolling and McDonnell "have a political death wish for the party" because Gilmore supports abortion rights up until the eighth week of a pregnancy.

"To say that Jim Gilmore or the many prominent Republican leaders who support him have a 'death wish' or are not pro-life is, at best, ill informed and, at worst, out of control political opportunism," Gilmore's campaign manager, Dick Leggitt, said. "Del. Marshall's unfortunate attacks on these distinguished Virginians are repugnant."

Leggitt continued, "It's a shame that Del. Marshall's rhetoric is becoming so overheated. He needs to remember that the goal of Virginia's nominee is to defeat liberal Mark Warner in November ... fact is, the objective of this campaign is to prevent liberal Democrats like Mark Warner from taking complete procedural control of the U.S. Senate. To that end, it would be helpful if Del. Marshall would either come in out of the sun or put on a hat."

Marshall shot back at Gilmore in an interview. "Jim Gilmore should remember the Republican platform, which says we should protect all pre-unborn children, not exempt the 700,00 that he thinks are not worth living,." Marshall said. "How does he think he can win by ignoring this huge segment of the Reagan coalition. He should read history."

Gilmore spokeswoman Ana Gamonal countered that Gilmore was "one of the most pro-life governors the state of Virginia has ever seen" because he fought for parental notification for minors seeking an abortion as well as helped enact legislation to ban late-term abortions.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Democratic Party is entering the fray. The party sent out a statement today accusing Bolling and McDonnell of pandering to the "to extreme conservative partisans" with their decision to endorse Gilmore.

By Tim Craig  |  March 12, 2008; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Election 2009 , James Gilmore III , Tim Craig  
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