He doesn't have the money and flamboyance of Donald Trump or the establishment backing of Jeb Bush, but former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore believes he has the seriousness and credentials to slip by them and the 14 other Republican presidential candidates to come out on top.

Later this week, the folksy governor known in Virginia for slashing taxes (especially the hated car tax) and nationally for tackling terrorism will announce his candidacy, becoming the 17th Republican in a crowded field.

He believes the large field will help him. "This race is running differently than previous presidential races, that's one reason why I'm encouraged to get in. The difference is with many, many candidates in there, there is room to have your voice heard," he told the Washington Examiner.

Also on his side is the lack of a dominant frontrunner such as Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. "The race is not jelling around the other candidates. It just isn't. Now I recognize I've got a long way to go, OK. I'm not unmindful of this, but it is possible because of the campaign environment," he said.

New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is his focus, and he's already spent more time in the Granite State than half of his competitors. And the reaction has been good to his serious proposals to "turbo-charge" the economy by helping create jobs for younger Americans and older laid-off workers, and taking the Islamic State, China, Russia and other threats head-on.

"The people up there are just so darn nice. They are receptive to a serious discussion about issues," said Gilmore, one of three veterans in the GOP field. "See, New Hampshire is not like a lot of other places. They really understand the role that they have to play."

Asked if he has time to gain traction, Gilmore said he expects to be in the candidate forum hosted Aug. 3 by the Manchester Union-Leader and from there step up his travels.

"I'm not just naysaying that we have the challenges, I'm recognizing them and proposing a direction. That's what's lacking. And that's where I have an opportunity to come in," he said. "I think we have to be patient."


He has never asked God for forgiveness and talks primitively about religious practices such as communion, so it's probably not a surprise that Donald Trump's Bible is an "executive slim line."

But as with everything Trump, even his "Living Bible Paraphrased" is a showstopper, joining a historic and eclectic collection of Bibles that include some older than the 1611 King James version.

Collector James Melikian of Phoenix, Ariz., said that he recently bought the Bible inscribed to Trump's former wife, Marla Maples, for $750 and hopes it adds a bit of pizzazz to a show of his books and manuscripts at Arizona State University in October.

"Now where the Trump Bible will be displayed amongst all these others is still to be determined, but we hope that its addition to our collection will bring some publicity to the exhibit just as the real Donald Trump loves to bring publicity to himself," Melikian said.


This year's "surge" of illegal immigrant children and teens is expected to top 30,000, about half of last year's flood of nearly 70,000, according to humanitarian groups.

But that doesn't mean the flow of youths, and now a growing number of families from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, has slowed. Instead, many more are being stopped at Mexico's southern border.

"The numbers are surging," said Linda Hartke, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

"We've seen no change in the numbers," added Alaide Vilchis Ibarra of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the U.S. "They just aren't making it here," she told the Examiner.

Urged to take action by President Obama, Mexico has moved to seize the children and families. But instead of evaluating their request for asylum, the humanitarian officials said that Mexico is arresting and eventually deporting them home. While in detention, the conditions are horrible, Ibarra said.

Some 100,000 immigrants were stopped in Mexico last year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, suggesting that nearly 200,000 actually tried to make it into the United States when factoring for the thousands believed to have died making the trip and those who got in undetected.


"I have many millions [of followers] between Twitter and Facebook. It's great. It's like owning a newspaper without the losses. It's incredible."

— Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.