Gilmore says McCain trying to manipulate California primary process

SPRINGFIELD, VA -- Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, today wrote the Ron Nehring, Chairman of the California Republican Party, urging him to block U.S. Sen. John McCain’s attempt to change GOP nomination rules to allow independents to vote in the Feb. 5 California Republican Primary.

"It would seem that Sen. McCain is asking to be protected from the scrutiny of the Republican voters of California," Gilmore said in his letter to Chairman Nehring. "To the contrary, I believe Republican primaries are our party’s method of selecting Republican nominees who will represent with their values and their voices the Republican principles that have guided Ronald Reagan and many other outstanding GOP candidates and office holders across California and the nation to successful public service."

"While we Republicans are and have always been willing and anxious to serve and to assist independent voters, we are not the Republican/Independent Party! Voters who register as Republicans and participate in our party’s campaigns and elections activity are bound together by their shared beliefs in ideas like limited government, low taxes and a secure and safe America," Gilmore said.

"I know that Senator McCain, who is a fine man and a distinguished public servant, has a reputation as a maverick. I also know that in the past Senator McCain has held views contrary to those of the majority of Republicans on such things as campaign finance reform, securing our borders and reducing taxes. Having taken those positions, he should not now be allowed to avoid the scrutiny of discerning California Republican voters by diluting their votes with those Californians who are not Republicans."

"As one of the candidates for President of the United States who will also be asking the voters of the California Republican Party to review my record and my remarks on the issues of concern to Californians, I am asking you and the other leaders of the California Republican Party to reject Senator McCain’s blatant attempt to manipulate the nomination process to his advantage," the former Virginia Governor said.