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. GI Joe

    Maybe we can go into Utah and Texas and change their laws so only republicans can win.

    Oh wait .....................................

    December 31, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. m

    So how is it that two of the candidates were able to meet the bar set by the GOP in Virginia while the others couldn't? Typical cry babies – we didn't make it so we'll sue. Too funny!

    December 31, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. thend

    I am sure that the candidates knew the requirements for the Virginia State primary so if they fail to meet those requirements then thats too bad. what kind of example are they setting . . . if the rules do not suit me than I will change them . . . classic!!!

    December 31, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Nare

    I see their disdain for "activist" judges has its limits.

    December 31, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Jeff

    "We hate activist judges! Just follow the law as written...unless it's not to our liking. Then overrule the law."

    December 31, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. lynn

    give me a break, if they dont want you , they dont want you

    December 31, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. galileo225

    Gotta love the rupubs. They are so incompetent they cannot read the rules, and then they do what they claim is ruining the country..File a lawsuit. Can anyone take them seriously for God's sake and the sake of America I sure hope not.

    December 31, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. The American Way

    Can't do things right...sue

    December 31, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Peter

    You mad perry!

    December 31, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Kevin

    Corruption. Isn't America great?

    December 31, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Jay

    They all knew what the regs were for the state, and they all have staffers who are supposed to ensure things are being performed IAW the letter of the law... This sounds like more whining from the GOP hopefuls.

    December 31, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Falling off in Iowa

    let's see how this goes... Make candidates who are organized and intelligent enough to follow the rules not viable. If that doesn't work then break the rules. And if that doesn't work sue to change the rules.

    These people expect us to vote for them? Seriously?

    December 31, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    It's not Virginia's fault that these yahoos couldn't get it together to get enough valid signatures. And besides, what happened to "states' rights uber alles"?

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Jarsbait

    OK, guys, this just seems like you didn't have your act together and didn't do the legwork necessary to compete. This doesn't seem like a ballot rules issue as much as it does a campaign organization issue.

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Michael Tosto

    All I hear is "WAHHH we didn't make it, no fair"

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. joe

    When the rules don't suit you, change the rules. What BS. If you're too stupid or incompetent to manage to get on the ballot, you don't deserve to be there.

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Jataka

    You're joking right? You lost so you're going to sue? Is that what you feel American values are about? Being a sore incompetent loser? You lost. DEAL WITH IT. I don't get to sue everyone who does me wrong so why should you? The only thing the candidates care about is money, not the plight of the American people. They should be charged as traitors, hung, drawn, and quartered at the Washington Monument. RON PAUL 2012.

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. nelly


    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Brandon V. in DFW

    So let me get this straight, the strict conservatives that are always for state's rights are suing the state saying, basically, that the state doesn't have the right to set its own requirements for candidates to be on its primary ballots. Interesting, very interesting.

    December 31, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Church of Christ at Harrisonburg

    Hey, I have an idea, since I failed to follow the rules and did not get on the ballot because well, I'm just not that popular in VA, we should totally sue the Commonwealth of Virginia to get on the ballot. I mean, heck, we're so stupid, this is the best thing we could do. In fact, let's get VA to pass emergency legislation to to allow us nobodies to be on the ballot. Blowback is going to be a you know what when it all goes down for the establishment and media.

    December 31, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. afig367

    typical republican hypocrisy. a state passes its own law in a perfect example of the "state's rights" that conservatives love so much. but when those laws don't favor them, they whine and sue.

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Independent Voter

    You snooze you lose. Better luck next year slackers.

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Pastafaria

    This is outrageous! Virginia's requirement that a candidate have at least 10,000 supporters who are able to sign their own name is clearly nothing more than a blatant and shameless attempt to disenfranchise the Christian Right.

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. snowdogg

    So, the far right sector which promotes "states rights" objects? These are all losers in more ways than one.

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. tony

    Oh those naughty government regulations. All gotta go!

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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