Former Virginia Governor Gilmore drops Republican presidential bid

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore ended his long-shot campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Friday after dismal showings in the first two contests in the race.

Gilmore announced his decision to quit the race in a Facebook post. His departure leaves six candidate vying for the Republican nomination for the Nov. 8 presidential election, with the next contest on Feb. 20 in South Carolina.

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday and has a double-digit lead in opinion polls over Texas Senator Ted Cruz for South Carolina contest, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls.

Gilmore, 66, entered the race in July but he made few campaign appearances by comparison to his rivals, and his candidacy never gained traction.

He managed vote totals of less than 1 percent in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month and the New Hampshire primary.

Gilmore, who briefly sought the 2008 Republican nomination before dropping out, served one term as Virginia’s governor, from 1998 to 2002, and was the chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2001.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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