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. Devaanandh

    You didnt get your names because you didnt respect the process and turn in required signatures. End of Story.

    December 31, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. fheal

    Yes, more voter shenanigans. This time before the ballot, as if voter irregularities are not enough.

    December 31, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. MK-

    If, in fact, Mr. Gingrich had someone–anyone–in his campaign who committed some type of fraud, that is unfortunate for him. However, as unfortunate as that may be, Mr. Gingrich is ultimately responsible for the entirety of his campaign and the people he surrounds himself with, including the one (alleged) criminal element. Either he knew there was criminal activity or he didn't. If he didn't, he should have. A president is responsible for the people they appoint to various tasks and for the tasks delegated to others on their behalf...

    December 31, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Mitch

    Did Virginia change the rules, or dd the candidates campaigns just fail to prepare and meet the standards? Some managed to qualify and some didn't think it was important enough to do so. Tough. Eliminate the pretenders.

    December 31, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  5. Seattle Sue

    What a bunch of cry babies. If dumb azz Romney and Paul can get on the ballot, what is wrong with these dimwits?

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

    If these laws kept people from voting Republicans would be all for them.

    December 31, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. HeavyC

    So basically, Romney and Paul are the only two candidates smart enough to consider. Newt gets a double stupid for saying they would persue an "aggressive write-in campaign" when that isn't even allowed in Virginia. Now I didn't know what, but I'm not a seasoned politician running for President. Geezz...

    December 31, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. mark

    What a bunch of winey little babies . These people want to be president what the howdy duddy club . i want them all to go away

    December 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    And they all believe "tort reform" is the answer to rising healthcare costs?

    December 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. catnip

    The Virginai republican party is a disgrace to the whole country and the republican party .
    Leaving candidates off an important primary shows how much contempt this state party has for certain candidates.
    Va. should be ashamed of itself for showing such discrimination!!!

    December 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Sue

    Perry the hypocrit. Isn't he big states right, screw the federal government and their liberal courts Perry? If Virginia said he didn't meet their requirements by his own logic he should have to accept it. Goes to show you how pathetic this crop of lousy politicians really are. Go back to Texas and work on collecting your federal funds.

    December 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  12. joeazona

    these guys are all frauds... except for Ron Paul.

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Aezel

    Republicans: trying as hard as they can to disenfranchise voters, until they are the ones being disenfranchised. I kinda agree it's a dumb law but Ron Paul and Romney seemed able to figure it out. Do we want someone as president who couldn't even get their act together enough to take care of simple stuff like this?

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

    The GOP is against state's rights

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. vodoGOP

    This is becoming ridiculously childish. Doesn't exactly make it any better that you turn around and say that it's your staff's fault...(You are running for president!!!). I am not even going to comment Bachmann and Gingrich. Ron Paul is the only sane option and he will prob not win against Obama...

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Bob

    All these problems would be solved if we did away with the stupid electoral college. Maybe they could include that in their platforms?

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. ARTRaveler

    Maybe, if they had asked ACORN for help, they would have made it on the ballot. How can Huntsman, Bachmann, and Santorium have any staus to be included in the lawsuit since they didn't even try to get on the ballot? It is not as if this law was cooked up yesterday by the Democrats to get them. Obviously, none of them have a campaign organization that actually knows how to run a campaign. And Newt, you hold all Demicrats responsible when their is a voter question, why can't you take responsibility for the failuire of YOUR campaign to do THEIR job?

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. cogboy

    Ha! Really? Well this seems to be an interesting bit of karma. If the GOP had spent less time trying to deny certain folks the right to vote they could have established certain candidates' rights to be on the ballot! Will Aesop get royalties on this? lmao!

    Black men in DC – We are the 95%

    December 31, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. DoNotWorry

    Anyone interviewed the ONE volunteer who submitted 1500 fraudulent signatures? Amazing how that is glossed over.

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. ron j.

    who in the -- cares!!!

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. xpxpxp

    Four candidates are suing because they can't count and don't have control over their campaigns? They knew the rules, 10,000 signatures, it's not the states fault that was too difficult for some.

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Killdeer

    All four of you together don't have a snowballs chance in hell of being nominated so why waste the time and money? You knew what VA's laws were and failed to qualify under them and now you are acting like spoiled children. You want to be president of what? The sandbox comes to mind.

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. mcineri

    The Commonwealth of Virginia has every right to set their own election laws and standards. The law here is not "onerous." Plenty of other states have equally similar laws. Primary elections were not even added until the progressive era. This lawsuit is going to be thrown out. On top of that, none of these people will get the nomination anyway.

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Mike

    Hey they are losers !!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. monty calandros

    What? Republicans assailing States Rights?

    December 31, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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