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Marshall Seeks Concessions From Gilmore

Tim Craig

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) said today he won't run as an Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, but probably will not be endorsing GOP Senate nominee James S. Gilmore III, either

In an interview, Marshall said he remains upset about mailers Gilmore sent out during the final days of their race for the nomination. Gilmore, a former governor, defeated Marshall by less than 1 percent at the state GOP convention on Saturday.

A few days before the convention, Gilmore sent out a mailing that questioned Marshall's conservative credentials. The Gilmore campaign said it was responding to three negative mail pieces that Marshall had sent out.

"Why would Jim want my endorsement?" Marshall asked. "He says I am dishonest, so why would an honorable man like Jim Gilmore want an endorsement from someone he says is dishonest?"

But Marshall, who based his campaign on his staunch opposition to abortion and tax increases, added he will throw his support behind Gilmore if the former governor comes out in favor of banning all abortions. Gilmore supports abortion rights until the 8th week of pregnancy, a stance that prompted Marshall to challenge him for the nomination.

"I would campaign harder for him than I would myself, if he comes out for life," said Marshall, adding he put 215,000 miles on his car during his Senate campaign this spring.

Gilmore appears unlikely to change his stance on abortion, but he still plans to reach out to Marshall and his supporters.

"We are very excited and enthusiastic moving forward and welcome both Del. Marshall's support and that of his delegates," said Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman. "Our message to conservative voters in Virginia is that they have a clear choice in the upcoming U.S. Senate elections, to vote for the former governor [Gilmore] which signed every single pro-family, pro-life legislation that came to his desk or to vote for the former governor [Mark R. Warner] which vetoed every single pro-family, pro-life legislation that came to his desk."

It remains to be seen whether Gilmore will be able to win over Marshall's supporters, many of whom were drawn to his candidacy because of his strong opposition to abortion.

"If (Gilmore) gives them 10 percent, they will give him 10 percent," Marshall said. "If he gives them 20 percent, they may give him 20 percent. Why should they give them more than he gives?"

But one prominent conservative Marshall supporter - state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) - is already vowing to work hard for Gilmore in the fall.

"Nobody should go to a (convention) and leave not ready to support the nominee," Cuccinelli said. "It is totally unreasonable to not support the other candidate when they beat your guy."

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2008; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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