Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit
December 31st, 2011
04:40 PM ET
10 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. whocaresObamaWinsNextTime

    Somebody call the Wambulence.... WAH.......
    Republican Cry Babies...

    December 31, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. bbcorno

    It's funny and ironic, isn't it? States' rights can be a real nuisance if they don't work in your favor.

    December 31, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Newt

    Newt's response is illogical. His problem isn't the 1,500 false signatures..... his problem is that he couldn't come up with 10,000 real ones. Romeny and Paul had no problems.

    December 31, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. ObamaWinsNextTime

    Looks like crying over spoiled milk to me.... But again they are republicans

    December 31, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. el guapo

    Hmm.. I thought these folks were all for State's Rights.. and now they want to sue a state over its laws...

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

    I thought these Republican presidential candidates are against the federal government interfering with state's rights? These are the same Republicans (Bachmann, Perry and Gingrich) shouting the 10th Amendment; right?
    I always laugh when these cats scream about the liberal defense attorneys until they need one.

    December 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Earwig Van Klempt

    So 2 out of 5 candidates figured out how to file the paperwork properly to actually get on the ballot. Don't mess with Mother Nature. Thinning out the herd.

    December 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. HappyThe NewYear

    Awww, the Repubes are crying that the rules weren't bent to suit their needs.
    The GOP should get bent.

    December 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. David Trotman-Wilkins

    I thought that these candidates for the GOP presidential nomination were for smaller government and the sovereignty of state's rights. Now they want activist courts (judges) to overturn the laws of the state because they failed to make the grade legally. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    December 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Rick from Chicago

    Nothing like the GOP tying up the court system with frivolous lawsuits that INCREASE the size of BIG government when they don't get their way!

    Well, after all, it was either that or take "personal responsibility" for not getting their affairs in order so hey could be on the ballot. And we know that will N-E-V-E-R happen!

    Gotta love Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum saying if you don't change the rules for us, we'll just game the system and bleed the state financially with our lawsuit.

    And these hypocrites wonder why they're not fit for office and will never get elected President?

    December 31, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Bob

    You have to change the rules just for us ...... we not used to following rules..... rules are for the Middle Class.

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

    Can you post an English version? I can't even tell if this is some representation of another alphabet or scrambled coding.

    December 31, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. teacher n need of job

    Perry needs to sit down and give his money to us teachers who he would not help. How about getting our jobs back. I will never vote for him again. He is the great pretender.

    December 31, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. A former republican

    What a bunch of cry babies. They will be the first to object if a Democratic soldier's ballot is returned a day late. Does anyone want any one of these losers as President?

    December 31, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Guy

    The Axis of Evil.

    December 31, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Max Powers

    LOL, and I thought it was all ACORNS fault!

    December 31, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. Cody

    It's not slaughter, just involuntary suicide.

    December 31, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. Joshua Ludd

    And amateur hour rolls on.

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

    Wah Wah Wah I can't follow basic instructions but please elect me president! Yea right. These four jackanapes should just call it.

    December 31, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Registered Voter

    These idiots are too stupid to follow a few election laws? Incompetant staff also? Yeah, that's someone I want to be my president!

    December 31, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Brian Smith

    You don't do the work, then you lose. These laws aren't 'new' – they have been taking advantage of them for decades just the way they are.

    December 31, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. chi-based

    is it me or do these fours sound like children candyland who want to change the rules so they win. so pathetic. i expected more of huntsman. not the other three. so disappointing and disgusting.

    December 31, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. lonestarst8

    and this my friends is what is wrong with America. People don't play by states rules and gather like minded individuals to go after the state. You could insert any affiliatedable (yes i just made my own word) word for state and it applies on all fronts.

    December 31, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. cs

    ron paul and mitt romney are the only REAL candidates. Those "other" candidates only ran because the GOP needed people to through the scent off of Ron Paul. we are all suckers. Go Ron Paul.

    December 31, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Mel

    If they can't figure out how to get on a smiple ballot, how are they supposed to run the country?

    December 31, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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