Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit
December 31st, 2011
04:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit

UPDATE 1/1/12 6:50 p.m. ET: On Sunday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reconsidered a proposal he made Saturday to ease the state's ballot restrictions by the March 6 primary.

"After working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 Presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia's burdensome system," Cuccinelli said in a statement.

(CNN) - Four candidates left off the Virginia Republican primary ballot joined Rick Perry Saturday in suing the state's board of elections over laws they say are "unconstitutional."

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum joined the lawsuit, originally filed Tuesday, challenging provisions that determine who can appear on the primary ballot.

On Wednesday, Gingrich cited fraud as the reason he didn’t make it onto the ballot, laying the blame on one of his campaign's paid volunteers.

"We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud,” Gingrich said.

On Saturday, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said they were looking into the petition fraud case, but that their top priority was getting on the ballot.

All five candidates filing the lawsuit failed to qualify for the ballot.

Huntsman, Bachmann and Santorum did not file petitions with the Virginia State Board of Elections that would have allowed them a place in the state's primary. Gingrich and Perry filed petitions that were later rejected by the Republican Party of Virginia for not meeting requirements.

Virginia requires candidates to obtain 10,000 signatures from registered voters in the state, with at least 400 signatures coming from each of the commonwealth's 11 congressional districts.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Perry said the statutes of Virginia law that regulate access to the ballot were "among the most onerous in the nation and severely restrict who may obtain petition signatures."

In their release Saturday, Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum request the board of elections add their names to the ballot, saying it will avoid "unnecessary costs and expenses to the state and the parties" that would be incurred by moving the lawsuit forward.

Immediately after his petition was rejected by the Virginia GOP, Gingrich said he would launch a write-in campaign. It was later determined that Virginia specifically prohibits write-in candidates in primary elections.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul both successfully filed petitions to appear on the Virginia ballot.

The state holds its Republican primary on Super Tuesday, March 6.

–CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Virginia
soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. ed bailey

    Cry baby cry, you don't even know the reason why.the fact that the salamanders boy got busted on fraud stuns me to no end, NOT.same old style of wanna be criminals crying their eyes out because them and the slimey backers just fell and dropped the golden baton that they could have stolen from the comatose American public!

    January 1, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  2. Tim

    Seems to me that they are just really unhappy. If they had made it onto the ballot, they would not have questioned it. I honestly think that anyone that is running for president should have the capability of obtaining the needed signatures without too much issue, I mean, Ron Paul made it. Maybe they should chock it up a loss and just try harder in the places they have made it.

    January 1, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  3. jtaylor

    If two GOP candidates had no problem following the requirements to get on the ballot, what is the basis for this lawsuit? Inability to find 10k registered voters that support you is certainly not Virginia's fault! Then, to use the threat of an exspensive lawsuit to try and get VA to put you on the ballot anyway, is BS! Aren't these frivolous lawsuits against the GOP platform? I applaud VA's tougher requirements as a logical way to deter any Tom, Dick or Harry from getting on their ballot. Serious, organized and capable candidates only, need apply.

    January 1, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  4. Bugs Bunny

    Boo Hoo Hoo.

    January 1, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  5. Jeff

    We have a congress who can't acomplish anything (both Dems and Reps), we don't need a president who can't accomplish anything either. Consider this a competence test that these five failed. They don't deserve to be on the ballot. I hope that VA doesn't give in.

    January 1, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  6. maximusvad

    So are the rules different from last election ? If you can't follow the rules...then make your own. You go GOP.

    January 1, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  7. NoTags

    A sitting Governor, an Ex-Governor, an Ex-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives and an Ex-Senator; All lawmakers who don't know how to follow Virginia law.

    If this group doesn't know how to follow Virginia law none of them are qualified to be POTUS.

    January 1, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  8. Maggie

    Republicans suing republicans. How quaint.

    January 1, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  9. Maggie

    The funny part is that all of these candidates will probably drop out long before the Virginia primary for obvious lack of interest from everyone else.

    January 1, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  10. aaron

    If a "fringe", "dangerous", and "kooky" candidate like Ron Paul could get on the ballot, why can't SEVERAL mainstream (including one "leading") candidates make it on legitimately?

    January 1, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  11. R.Williams

    I wonder how many staffers are now looking for work, after fumbling their job to get the candidates on the ballot?

    January 1, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  12. Greg Morgan

    Republicans destroyed ACORN because some paid signature-gatherers betrayed and defrauded ACORN by submitting false signatures. Now that some of Gingrich's signature-gatherers have done exactly the same thing, why are Republicans not destroying the Gingrich campaign? Rick Perry hates the federal court system and says he wants to abolish it, so why is he using the federal court system to accomplish what he wants? Republicans think states should have the right to establish their own laws and regulations, free from the interference of the federal government, so why are these Republicans complaining about the choices that Virginia has made that apply equally to all candidates, and why do they want the federal government to interfere? Republicans are spearheading efforts to tighten voting requirements in many states, to make it harder for people to participate in the electoral process, so why are Republicans complaining about the strict requirements that Virginia has enacted? They might as well rename themselves the National Hypocrite Party.

    January 1, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  13. Reddog9500

    What a bunch of whiners. They couldn't make the cut, so they're suing the coach.

    January 1, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Newt deserves the "ACORN treatment."

    January 1, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. ElisabethinCA they want to be president of the United States but they can't even figure out how to qualify for a ballot? Brilliant!

    January 1, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. Perry/Bachmann/Palin = The Pea Brain Party

    So now they "like" those activist judges when it will benefit them, but"hate" them when it goes against one of their "ideals." Just plain hypocritical, Think before you vote people! We can't have anyone in the GOP clown car in ANY OFFICE.

    January 1, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  17. Tdub

    I guess Rick Perry doesn't really believe in states rights. Personally, I believe they should all be on the blet but Republicans have been telling me restricting access to the voting box is a good thing. I believe they call it integrity of the process.

    January 1, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  18. William dodge

    What a waste of money

    January 1, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. JD

    Give me a break! Just another example of Republicans thinking they are above following rules, regulations and laws. Could you imagine what would be said by the GOP candidates if a Democrat was trying to pull a stunt like this? Its amusing that two candidates can do what was needed to get on the ballot, but the others now blame the rules and their 'team' for not being able to show on the ballot. Why does everything in this nation require a lawsuit? They would probably have better luck if they threw themselves on the ground and held their breath until they turned blue; people may take them more seriously and give them what they want.

    January 1, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  20. Laura

    Do we reall want a candidate who is too stupid to read and follow directions?

    January 1, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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