He ran for the GOP nomination it in the 2000 cycle, but dropped out early–earlier than was necessary, it seemed at the time. I watched it all very closely, because an article on candidate Ashcroft was one of the first things I wrote for NRODT after joining the magazine in 1998. I have no inside information here, so this is just raw speculation. He is a very ambitious man. He is currently 63 years old and was hospitalized for pancreatitis earlier this year.