“I have come to believe that it takes more than a positive vision for our nation’s future to successfully compete for the Presidency,” he said. “I believe that it takes years of preparation to put in place both the political and financial infrastructure to contest what now amounts to a one-day national primary in February.”
That might be true (though I wonder how it explains Senator Obama). But running a successful presidential campaign also requires a candidate who has more to his name than spending one term as a governor where there is a near-universal consensus he crashed his state into oblivion. Gilmore's Virginia legacy was to send the state into near bankruptcy and catalyze its move from solid red to purple (which is why the two subsequent governors after he left have both been Democrats). Don't get me wrong--us Donkeys appreciate the help. But it's not a complete mystery why Republican voters might have been less than enthused about Gilmore's candidacy.
UPDATE: Here's the Post's coverage:
Gilmore's real strength, however, has always been his absolute certainty in his own ideas and beliefs. As governor, the confidence gave him strength while also earning him the enmity of political adversaries who grew frustrated by his unwillingness to compromise.
A Southern Republican governor with "absolute certainty in his own ideas and beliefs," who refuses to compromise and infuriates his political adversaries?
Gosh, what possibly could have gone wrong?