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. windycitybill

    Come-on – this shows the charter or the lack there of character of the current GOP candidates. Yes, the rules apply to you and no Gingrich just cause you have poor judgement and hired a cheater, does not give you the right to be on the ballot...infact it exposes how poor of a job you would do as President.

    December 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. GO

    How interesting. The same people who are in the same political party who want to make voting more difficult with voter I.D. laws in various states are suing to get on a ballot. There is so much hypocrisy in politics that it is almost not worth paying attention to any longer.

    December 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Kathy

    Iowa vote fraud 2012.

    December 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. okay?????

    So none of them can follow a simple rule of getting 10,000 signatures to qualify yet they expect to run the most powerful nation in the world????? Doesn't the GOP have something to do with these rules to begin with? It is their primary afterall isn't it?

    December 31, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Paul in WI

    Funny how these guys, when they don't like a law, call it "onerous". Poor Baby!

    December 31, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Kei

    Eric Cantor will put his dirty nose in this somehow.. just you wait and see.....

    December 31, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    OMG! What a joke this Republican campaign has become. From the debates to the voting, it reminds me of those lame high school and college student body elections of yore.

    December 31, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Unknown

    How long have these rules been in place?? I'm guessing many many years! So over time, no other candidates had issues meeting the requirements. In fact, 2 current top candidates had no issues meeting these requirements. What this tells me is, if you can't get 10,000 signatures and meet the requirements by law, then you don't deserve to be president! Stop blaming others or the laws. If you want to be our countries top leader, then there is no reason why something as simple as this couldn't be accomplished. Highlights how poor the candidate pool is......

    December 31, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Emerald Laughter

    That's the GOP way sue the state of Virginia for your lack of organization. What a bunch of losers! These guys aren't qualified to run a Dairy Queen.

    December 31, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. voter

    Waaahhh, waaahhh! Sounds like sour grapes to me...if candidates don't have the infrastructure or support to get enough signatures to appear on the ballet, that's too bad. Everyone knows the rules, and it looks like everyone else didn't have a problem getting enough in time. It's kind of scary that the 4 of them couldn't get their act together when it really matters. If that's an indicator of how they'd be if any of them made it into office, they really shouldn't be running.

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

    Do they want Virginia to provide them with a minimum number of votes also. The only voter fraud that occurs is because of republican dirty tricks or by having activist republican judges award the election to a republlican candidate; remember the 2000 election?

    December 31, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. bob dog

    Talk about arrogance, include us or we will sue you because we did not meet the criteria. . .

    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.

    December 31, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. steve harnack

    So if their blackmail (put us on or we will cost you a bunch of legal fees) doesn't do the job they will be asking some ACTIVIST judges to overturn a law made by the Virginia State Legislature. Does anyone need any more proof of how hypocritical these so called states rights defender really are? When it comes time to walk the walk they fail every time.

    December 31, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Steve

    But it's ok to change voting rules to limit fraud where little-to-no fraud is found?

    You earned this one Republicans.

    December 31, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. swineflu78

    Funny is not Virginia a RED state? AND did not they accuse all of ACORN being a fraud because of this same issue?

    December 31, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Saboth

    Newt: "Hey Johnny, how's those fake signatures coming?" "Fine...I don't know about this sir." "Nonsense...if we get caught, I'll go to bat for ya!"

    December 31, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Dennis

    Has a journalist reported how long these laws have been in effect? Is this something new in Virginia? Are these laws really (I mean in fact) "among the most onerous in the nation". How do these laws compare to other states?
    Another thing, this is a PRIMARY, to mean that means a political party is involved in selecting it's candidates; seems like a political party should be able to do whatever it wants. Why are Va. taxpayers, as a whole, subsidizing any political party selections????
    Can't some journalist get at these issues for us poor voters out here; instead of breathlessly quoting the overblown self-serving statements of these bozos?? How about it 4th estate? – please help us out.

    December 31, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. arsphidius

    Republicans are all for "states rights", until a state does something they don't like. Then the states have no rights to have their own laws.

    December 31, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. brian

    leave it to these boneheads to sue over this... maybe somebody can get gore and bush involved too...

    December 31, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. bajadelmar

    What a bunch of hypocrites. They're not even electable POTUS candidates. It's funny how Repugs always like to talk about "liberals" being sue-happy. They simply didn't follow the rules to get on the ballot, they don't like being left out so they sue.

    December 31, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. callthebluff

    Sound like great leaders, fighting with the state because they can't follow clearly defined rules! The party of the rich don't like to be told "NO", but they sure vote "no" to anything that might fix our economy because it might be a credit to Obama!
    Send the GOP back to their summer homes in 2012.

    December 31, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. MA

    These criminals need to be put behind bars and let those inmates take care of them. Ron Paul 2012

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Tom

    The candidates who did not make it on Virginia 2012 primary ballot better come to the realization that they are nincompoops, and drop out.

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Andrew M

    No one cares. Go away.

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Tikaralee

    This is a failure on THEIR part not the state laws. I'm a co-chair for my party in Indiana, believe me the candidates knows what the laws are, and know to get WAY more sigs than they need to be put on the ballot. These laws haven't changed in forever, and yet it's only this year and these idiots that have a problem getting sigs?? Unqualified candidates, who don't get people behind them don't get put on the ballot, simple as that!

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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