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. Mike

    Absolutely ridiculous. If Ron Paul had been left off, would the other 4 candidates sued on is behalf.

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Jim

    Really! First I'm going to sue then I'm going to hold my breath and stomp my widdle footies

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Greg Cartine

    The article states, "Virginia specifically prohibits write-in candidates in primary elections."

    Is it truly Virginia that prohibits write-ins, or is the Republican Party in Virginia that prohibits write-ins?

    December 31, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Salty Bob

    Strike of the 4 muskalosers, soon as possible Texas will send Perry packing so keep him Virginia we dont want him back.

    December 31, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. jb1963

    Republicans can't work withing their own rules? They sue each other? This is who you want running for president?

    Republicans are STUP!D

    December 31, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. sadtosay

    These people really aren't getting the subtle hints. Oh well, extreme embarassment inc.

    December 31, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. brassman

    If these people are not smart enough to get follow the rules and get on the ballot, I am not sure I want them to be President.

    December 31, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Truth

    Gingrich "We hired somebody who turned in false signatures". Not surprised. At least the one real United States candidate that can fix the corporate greed that has trashed our economy made it on the ballot. Gingrich doesn't need to become more rich than he has already become. The same goes for the others/ Ron Paul for president 2012.

    December 31, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Jim H

    I'm guessing laws were passed making the VA. standards what they are. I'm also guessing the 4 whiner's will get what they want because VA. laws as with most other laws are only for those opposing the Elite's status quo. In fact when the Media and Elite's mouth pieces are finished, Ron Paul will be disqualified for filing too early.

    December 31, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Matt

    If your going to play the game then learn the rules. Saying you hired a guy who threw you under the bus is not helping in any way in my eyes.

    December 31, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. mike

    These folks do not have the wherewithal to get on a ballot but they think they can run the country--how egomaniacal!

    December 31, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Suffrage2012

    The Virginia GOP is engaging in practices that would impact voting....stop the presses! Let's see, Gingrich's camp admitted to committing fraud, the rest are simply too inept to follow the rules set forth by their own party... Seems simply to me.

    December 31, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Gary

    These candidates had a job to do (get 10,000 signatures) and just didn't get it done. A key distinction between the philosophy of conservatives and liberals is accountability. Instead, these candidates want people to live by the rules, except when it doesn't favor themselves, or the privileged or powerful to whom they cater (Wall Street, lobbyists, etc.) I'm a conservative, but not feeling very Republican right now.

    December 31, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. KLexi

    Candidates failed to take proper actions required by Virginia – their loss.

    December 31, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. conandoyle

    The seven dwarves are going to get more and more cranky and whiny as their looming fail comes closer and closer.

    December 31, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Jeff s

    Explain how these guys can run a country when they can't manage to complete a simple administrative task.

    December 31, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Deep North

    Next time I can't follow the rules, I am going to sue someone too!

    December 31, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. suz

    This is the first test in becoming president. I am sorry – but if you can't get yourself on the ballot, how do you expect to be president. Suing the board of elections is really ridiculous. If you screwed up, you screwed up – admit it and move on.

    December 31, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. james

    Finally something you candidates can agree on. Lets sue our way to a win.

    December 31, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Shannon

    How sad and pathetic these people are, they can't win by following the rules, so they have to play the victim and sue. The party of family values, and the party of responsibility, what a joke, what kind of people support these fools.

    December 31, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  21. Teal Listen

    This is why you need to be a Harvard graduate to run for President. These people on the GOP side are as dumb as a dumb a** rock! They don't know the laws in the State's that they're trying to even get on the doggone ballot. How stupid can you be! And Michelle Bachmann is a lawyer and didn't know this. What a gal. None of these red neck hicks are going to beat President Obama. Not even if they all break down and cry. STUPID!

    December 31, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. justin

    So, where in this process do the citizens of the USA get to select their president. While we tout to the world our freedoms, we are generally fed two people the parties sepect for us to choose from and they are certainly not men, or women, of their own. They are bought, packaged, marketed and sold to us. That is why we are where we are and why the parties love to see us fight amongst each other.

    December 31, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Mike

    These Republicans yell all the time about frivolous lawsuits yet they cant file one of their own fast enough when they screw up and decide to act like it is someone else's fault. Bunch of hypocritical babies.

    December 31, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. isisnovember

    The primary isn't until march! OUR state representatives have already made fixing the ballots a top priority come Jan 1in Richmond and what does the GOP do? SUE like cry babies! I hope Obama chews these idiots up and spits them out in NOV.

    December 31, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  25. Bonehead spine no bones

    HAHAHAHAHA Spend that money

    December 31, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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