Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit
December 31st, 2011
04:40 PM ET
9 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. Bubba North

    I'm a republican but if you idiots can't make sure you get 10,000 signatures properly to get on a ballot, then I don't want to vote for you anyway.... WOW...

    December 31, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Ed

    What a gaggle of clowns!!! And these are folks that want to be Commander-in-Chief? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me why the Republicans always think that long established rules don't apply to them. Virginia has had those filing requirements on the books for years. After watching the Iowa circus, Dems must be slapping themselves on the back until they're black and blue.

    December 31, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. bspurloc

    please vote for me for PRESIDENT.....
    I am a typical lazy fat american who doesnt CARE what the laws and rules are too run im gunna just do it and sue u if u dont let me.

    December 31, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. M & M

    Aren't these the "States rights" guys. Shouldn't they let Virginia make its own rules.

    December 31, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. sir_ken_g

    HAHAHAHA fools. Mitt and Perry did it.

    December 31, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. JRH

    So they didn't file the required paperwork as clearly spelled out by Virginia law, and now they're suing? I certainly hope the judge throws them out of the courtroom. The rules are there to be followed – by everyone, even if you're running for president (no matter how lame you may be). I don't see requiring 400 signatures from each congressional district as being terribly burdensome, and undoubtedly the law was put in place by the Republicans in any event, since they seem to love doing their best to make free and fair elections a thing of the past in the US.

    December 31, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. DJ Reilly

    Typical Republicans they wont play by the rules so they cry foul. Why is it the Wilber and Ron can play by the rules but the rest can't. Michelle, Newt anf the Ricky's should take their toys and just go home.

    December 31, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Roland Clark

    It's funny how Republicans always want to change the rules when it doesn't work in their favor.

    December 31, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Indy

    I thought Rick Perry was against frivilous law suits ? Flip flopper !

    December 31, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. LLOYD ROBERTS

    I thought republicans were into tort reform and the rule of law. Isn't that the law in Virginia. I guess it's okay for them to sue because they're big, important people, but the poor single mom who's baby is a paraplegic because the hospital mistook spinal meningitis as an allergy and sent the baby home with Tylenol isn't worthy to sue for damages. I understand, hypocrisy has infected the party i once held dear

    December 31, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. bspurloc

    Maybe they should REQUIRE ID to take a signature now cu its all FRAUD..... fraud the new FEAR MONGERING word.
    "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."

    December 31, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Whining babies!

    December 31, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. archimedes109

    They knew the requirements and failed to meet them. Holding them accountable for their inability to meet the requirements is absolutely the right thing to do. I mean, a high school faculty commitee will keep a kid out of the National Honor Society for that lack of attention to detail. I would think it should rule out a candidate for the presidency. Their efforts to blackmail Virginia into putting them on the ballot is very telling. And to think...there are people in our citizenry who would actually vote for these classless people...

    December 31, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. bushwhacker

    Apparently these candidates don't accept the rules that apply to all. They need to be the exception ?????

    December 31, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. claudeinalbany

    Are these the same people who oppose "activist judges" and seek to rein in the powers of the judiciary? Yet now they want their help.

    Rules are rules...do they think they are above the law even though they didn't follow regulations?

    December 31, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. charles bowen

    Ah! the Arrogant Republicant's who feel that the rules do'nt apply to them . Lets Sue and make those bad election board folks regret not bending those rules for us.... Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, Huntsmann, or better known as the sore loosers club......... W Bush would be proud of this trash his party is putting up for the Presidential Canidate.... Makes you proud to be a Republican.... Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    December 31, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. dj98

    knuckle heads!!

    December 31, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Juan

    OBAMA 2012

    December 31, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Dave

    I think they should be allowed to run in the primary, provided they supply their original "long form birth certificate". NO short forms, and no copies. And the certificate should have the telephone number of the physician, so we can be sure they are natural born citizens.

    December 31, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Ed

    What a gaggle of clowns!!! And these are folks that want to be Commander-in-Chief? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me why the Republicans always think that long established rules don't apply to them. Virginia has had those filing requirements on the books for years. After watching the Iowa circus, Dems must be slapping themselves on the back until they're black and blue.

    December 31, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. ClearAndPresentThinking

    I thought the Republicans were such staunch defenders of "states' rights." Doesn't Virginia have the right to make it's own election laws? Guess not, if you are one of the Four Horsemen of the GOPeclipse.

    December 31, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. Carol

    How can Bachman, Gingrich, Santurom, and Perry even bring a lawsuit against Va when they did't file properly? Romney and Paul did. Did they not understand the laws, as Romney and Ron Paul did?

    December 31, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Illeagle-j1

    I am not sure of the distance from Ohio to Iowa, but, If FRED (aka GOD) cooperates, we can have some peace and quiet. Nothing against Iowa per se but a a good earthquake could bring much needed silence to the country. I keep telling everyone that the Mayan calendar translation was wrong, and the Earth will shake itself silly long before Nov 2012. Have a Happy New Year, and ask FRED to make it a silent new year.

    December 31, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Lloyd Johnson

    Ironic, isn't it? Republicans see no wrong in the states creating impediments to voting by imposing all sorts of ID requirements, yet are the first to whine and complain when they are barred from a primary ballot by similar state imposed rules.

    December 31, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Dennis1020

    The rule has been on the books, I understand, since 1976. Two of the six candidates too the time to understand the rules and comply, but these four have decided the rules treat them unfairly? WTH?!? And these are people who think they are qualified to be the POTUS?

    December 31, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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