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. Marla

    And the ironic thing is that these candidates keep harping about "states' rights".
    I hope that Virginia hangs tough and doesn't cave in to these whiners.

    December 31, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Mike S

    Whatever happen to state's rights and getting the federal government of the back of the states? What a bunch of hypocrites.

    December 31, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. abdc1

    Sure like what they are doing ,change the law to suit them republicans

    December 31, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Boneheadn spine no bones

    Suit the state...that will get you lots of votes

    December 31, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Old Mayfield

    Of course restrciting voter access with photo-ID laws in South Carolina etc. is fine for all of these Republican hypocrites. When it's their own Ox getting gored, they howl, or simply lawyer-up.

    December 31, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |

    i like it

    December 31, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    not a good way to make friends in Virginia!

    December 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |

    nice nice

    December 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. keith

    so now we have four whiners upset at their own fault and putting blame on the state. Apparently they can't act like adults and accept their fault, but rather want to act like the state of Virginia is bullying them. More proof that the republicans don't like it when things don't go their way

    December 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. poedinva

    So you don't have a campaign staff that can help you keep abreast of the law, didn't think Va was important enough to get out and meet the people here, and now you want to sue?

    Ken Cucinelli is getting on my last nerve and frankly I am getting tired of this circus known as the Republican party. Sadly this is shaping up as one of the worse election years in US History. Romney, Gingrich, Obama? It looks like we are heading for another four years of mediocrity. Sad times indeed.

    December 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Mike

    "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.-- I thought it was only Acorn that commit election fraud.

    December 31, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. JKLD

    Ok, let me get this right. These candidates are suing Virginia over primary rules that have been in place for DECADES and every other candidate over the years has met and had no problem with?

    All it shows is what a whiny bunch of brats that the GOP has got.

    December 31, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. JT

    The G.O.P. have gotten to a point where they are settling on Santorum. Settling on Santorum like picking someone out after last call at the bar. I guess this person will do.

    December 31, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. ali

    more than likely the reason newt was left off the ballot is linked to why he thinks his 'volunteer' needs to be 'payed'. call me old fashioned but i'm under the impression the two are mutually exclusive...

    December 31, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. Katie Jane

    After all the states trying to change voting laws to prohibit certain people from voting I find this incredibly ironic. These candidates are whiners – most did not even file the original papers needed to run and it is sour grapes for the others. These requirements have been in place through several elections and no one has complained before. These people need to come up with another game plan.

    December 31, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Johan S

    I thought they were against "judicial activism" that overturns law. This is like how they are against judges overturning law, but are in favor of judges overturning laws such as the individual mandate.

    December 31, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. SafeJourney

    So Perry and the others cant follow the rules so they file a lawsuit. What a bunch of losers. This, ladies and gentlemen, are your GOP/TP candidates.

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. HarvardLaw92

    Pointless. There is no basis for the suit. All candidates have equal access to being able to meet the requirements, and there is no presumption for unilateral access to a ballot. States are within their prerogative to impose reasonable limits (which this one is) in order to ensure orderly elections.

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Jacqueline R.

    Typical of Gingrich. It's always someone else's fault. And fraud! What a surprise - NOT! You know, if he couldn't get it together enough to get 10,000 signatures in his own state, then that says about how disorganized a campaign he has. What an arrogant frickin' loser. Perry, Bachman, same thing. If you can't follow the rules, then you can't play. Other candidates in every presidential election have managed to get on the ballot, but these whiny losers can't. Is this the best of the GOP? How the heck are they ever going to beat Obama if this is the lineup??

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Poppedeye

    And this is the party of accountability tort reform? 3 of the 5 candidates suing did not even attempt to get on the ballot and the two who did try, failed to meet the established criteria. That Gingrich gave a, "the dog ate my homework" excuse, that probably wouldn't have flown in his classroom is very telling.

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Jennifer

    As long as Ron Paul is on the ballot I don't care, he's the only hope...

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. ar1969

    So, when you don't follow the rules and you can't bully your way into being allowed to bend the rules, then you should sue, because it's clearly not your fault. This is Republicans at their best.

    December 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Richard Buchanan

    Would these 5 candidates still be suing if they had made it on the ballot? Probably not. They only sue because they are not getting their way. More hipocracy at it's finest. I hope they FAIL!

    December 31, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. adrianne

    Do we really want these cry babies for presidents. If they can't follow these simply regulations I can only imagine what would go on in the White House!

    December 31, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. Dylan

    You want some cheese with that whine?!? They didn't follow the rules so they should pay the price. Typical though of the spoiled–I didn't get my way so I'm going to sue someone to change laws that are on the books.

    Pathetic. They all knew the rules going in and just didn't do what was required.

    December 31, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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