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.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. AP Photo

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 Secrets.

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."

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