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. J. Hunt

    I guess these politicians believe their " states rights" mantra only if it fits their agenda!

    December 31, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Chris

    If these people expect us to vote them in as our next leader then the least they could do is "follow the instructions" and do as the state (Virginia) requires. If they cannot do this then they do not deserve to become the next President. They are not above the laws/rules so their case should be thrown out immediately. They should have paid better attention to the rules in the beginning.

    December 31, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. FMan

    Did all signatures include a photo ID, a copy of their birth certificate, and a copy of their last school transcript? If not, then toss it.

    December 31, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. john

    Republicans suing because they couldn't get votes whats next forcing people 2 show up at events?

    December 31, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. TexasAnnie

    Oh whine! These rules have worked fine for how many years?? But now the whine squad doesn't get their way and it's straight to the lawyers. At what point are Perry, Huntsman, & Bachmann going to realize they are nobodies and that pretty much nobody wants to vote for them?

    December 31, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Doug

    Let me sue my way to the presidency .. Hmmm , history really does repeat itself,,

    December 31, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Michaelinmontreal

    This is the Republican way....
    When they do not play by the rules and don't succeed, they yell, scream, blame others and finally sue someone until they get what they want.
    What a joke they all are.....

    December 31, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Brian Berry

    This guy's biggest campaign in Texas is his tort reform measures (which failed to help healthcare costs at all), and now he sues Virginia? What a hypocrite.

    December 31, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. d hendrrrix

    Whaa not voting for any so far running on GOP ticket. I am a registered rebublican but the choices so far , are not good.

    December 31, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Honju

    retarded republicans.

    December 31, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. Rob in MO

    They all knew what the rules were and did not play by them. Now they are whining – typical republicans.

    December 31, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Arsio

    i smell something fishy!!! Considering Ron Paul will win Iowa can it be these candidates maybe playing against Ron Paul.

    December 31, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Concern

    Just like a spoil republican, if I don't get what I want i will force it to happen no matter what, we see this everyday in the house of reps, what a bunch of losers...

    December 31, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Iowan

    Seems to me that if a candidate is unable to successfully meet the requirements necessary to appear on the Virginia ballot it would also be unlikely that that candidate would be successful in running a campaign let alone our country.

    December 31, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Erick

    Virginia has spoken

    December 31, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. JJ

    This is a prime example why the republicans have no chance against Obama, despite his quickly lowering approval rating. This country needs better leadership than this group of whiny morons can muster, and so far they've only proven Obama is the lesser of these evils.

    December 31, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Travis

    Just another reason not to vote for these crooks. They talk about OWS people whining and not working. If they worked on getting the required signatures, they would be on the ballet. Now they are costing the tax payers money and time by filing frivolous lawsuits. Get over it!

    December 31, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. azmary

    Sounds to me like these candidates dropped the ball and did not meet the qualifications for being on the ballot. What happened to personal responsibility? Isn't that the frequent mantra of the Republicans? If you don't follow the rules, don't complain about the consequences, and definitely don't force a change of the rules to meet your needs.

    December 31, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. BruntLIVE

    These four got caught up in laws designed for black and brown people. Like mandatory/minimums or zero tolerance laws. They are only a problem when whites get caught up in them.

    December 31, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. soul man

    that is good that the gop hopefuls are getting a taste of what they put out crying that virgina is not treating them fair withthe voting law that was put in to keep them of the battlot in march what goes around comes around monorites are call cry babies for complaining about being jack around with the voter laws that repulikkklan are inacting around the country to stop monorities frome perry; backman deal with it like you want us to deal with it he he he he he he he

    December 31, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Dave

    "Gingrich cited fraud as the reason he didn’t make it onto the ballot..." We'll he'd know about lying. As for the rest- they are so fond of citing "law of the land" (Bachmann on gay marriage) and they knew the rules for VA before hand, but now that they've FAILED, it becomes an issue. Big surprise; if republicans can't get their way they try to get rid of the rules.

    December 31, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. What tha...

    Whether you're for them or against them, it's insane that viable national candidates would be left off of the ballot. It completely defeats the purpose of a primary.

    December 31, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Robert

    Hmm.. no one is saying that the laws were changed at the last minute. No one is saying that they didn't know what was needed. But yet 4 people who want us to give them the responsibility of being the "CEO" of this country for 4 years are NOT taking the responsibility for the failure of their campaign staff to get their names on the ballot. Don't whine after you screw up. Take responsibility, move on and stop asking for special consideration because you didn't follow-up to make sure you were on the ballot.

    December 31, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. huh

    Does anyone see the hypocrisy, or at least the irony, of a bunch of "states rights" and "anti-federal courts" candidates filing a federal lawsuit against Virginia?

    December 31, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. KB

    point is.... Gind-Rich....if you can't even oversee your own champagne operatives with some sort of reputable oversite the hell are you going to run the country....oh ..Iran and China are taking advantage of us...but they were just acting as frauds.

    December 31, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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