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. JB

    So, all five candidates have now flip-flopped on their position on state's rights? (Is any news network going to report on the sheer hypocrisy?) The rules were clear and unambiguous. These campaigns all failed to meet the requirements (or even bother to file). If they can't nail these details, how can any of them be considered serious contenders for the presidency? Romney and Paul managed to get on the ballot. It's clearly a two-man race.

    December 31, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Linda

    So a bunch of people who think they can run the country and be a world leader can't even follow the directions to get on the ballot? Gee, that's reassuring. Clearly these rules were not sprung on them as surprise. And for those who will reply that they themselves don't do that work, clearly the folks they hired aren't so great. Why would that be any different if they were elected and then appointed folks? Too busy being part of the circus . . .

    December 31, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. SciGuy

    So Gingrich can't even manage his campaign staff, but wants us to believe he can manage the job as President?

    December 31, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Martin

    Isn't this States rights? Home Rule? Isn't this what the Republicans want? Each State to make it's own decisions – no Federal inteference? What's that, the law isn't convenient to the Republicans in this case, so take it to the courts? But wait, wouldn't that require an "activist judge" to overturn the law – another thing the Republicans rail against? Buch of fat hypocrites.

    December 31, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. twh

    People in VA obviously don't want them in their state. i can't blame them. These typical politicians need to not be sore losers and deal with it.

    VA obviously want Ron Paul and that other guy in their state's primary.

    December 31, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Larry

    Guess my question is this: Why hasn't this been a problem before? It doesn't sound like a new rule. Snooze, ya looze.

    December 31, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Bill

    Awww... The poor wittle cornservative crybabies have now run to their nanny state judges to allow them to play simply because they didn't think the rules applied to them. What a bunch of rubes.

    December 31, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Jefffbo

    I can better think of 4 candidates that should quit the brace.

    December 31, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. patriot_1a

    so much for "law and order" republicans..... what losers!
    (I am surprised to see JH in that list)

    Miitt versus Ron; quite an unexpected outcome

    December 31, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Stephanie

    Sounds like these candidates are suing to try and bully a state into sidestepping their own laws, simply because they did not like the outcome of a long standing and lawful process. I thought the GOP was against frivolous lawsuits, and in favor of state's rights?

    December 31, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Nick San Diegon

    Do what you will, but you;re wasting your time. None of the above mentioned is going anywhere.

    December 31, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. dede

    In his interview with Wolf Blitzer, aired on CNN on Saturday, 12/31/11, Rick Perry said as president he would immediately move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that he does not believe Isreael is occupaying the Palestinian territories illegaly, among other things. I think Rick Perry has no chance of ever fulfilling any of those comments, because he will never be elected to be the President of the United States. His thoughts and feelings about the Middle East are frightening, and would result in a very large war ensuing with the Arab world. Scary stuff.

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Let's hope this information is as potentially positive to the liberty of Americans as it appears. However, it seems somewhat like the treasonous Bilderburg group may be staging this as an attempt to have a greater percentage of voters vote for Romney in order to fight Ron Paul's campaign. This is just speculation, so don't try to cite me. Anyway, I WILL BE VOTING FOR RON PAUL. There is no other option for the American people if they desire life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The NDAA was just today signed into law by an increasingly troubled-looking Obama, whose administration bluffed the statement to veto it. If this same scenario ends in the passing of SOPA, any website that even links to sites such as Youtube, or any social networking site, is at risk of being shut down in an attempt to disperse the free voice of the American people. Please fight for you country, because it is time.

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. DocinPA

    Anything for free airtime.

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. albert

    A potential president suing a state is un American.

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. Robble

    Here they go, wasting more money!

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. This is a democracy

    So let me get this straight – they are all for state rights and the states should be decinding everything – not the federal government. But only when they like it, right? Tells you exectly what kinds of leaders they would make.

    December 31, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. ShadowMan

    The Repubican candidates had to know about this law a LONG time ago, especially Mr. Gingrich. Funny that all of a sudden he and the others object to this law. If we had a sitting GOP POTUS and the tables were turned, I can almost GUARANTEE there would not be any problem whatsoever with VA's law. Too bad Newt, RickRick and Michelle. You're all losers if you can't get 10,000 legitimate signatures in a state with a population of 7.9 million!!!

    December 31, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. D

    What? Did they somehow not know what the rules were to qualify?
    So now it's the state's fault that their campaigns were incapable of meeting those requirements?

    December 31, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Other candidates were able to do it. These guys are just idiots.

    December 31, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Andrew

    Don't get your way? File a lawsuit, that seems to be the republican way of doing things..

    December 31, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Gene Madison

    I thought nobody was above the law. So now they are trying to blackmail the states (If you don't do as we say, we'll cost you.) in order to make up for their incompetents? How ridiculous is that?

    December 31, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. susyn leblanc

    How can any of these people lead this country if they cannot organize enough signatures in time for a ballot that they knew would come up and did not prepare for! And then they sue for it. Are they going to sue a foreign country that threatens war and then follows through because they didn't prepare? It's outrageous and NONE of them are fit to lead.

    December 31, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Keith

    Why is it the GOP doesn't believe in personal responsibility? Why are these GOP candidates trying to blame others for their failure to qualify for the Virginia ballot rather than taking personal responsibility for their own failures?

    December 31, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. jc

    What a joke, the republican stooges, if they can't even manage their campains how can any one expect them to manage our nation. They should all throw in the towel now and save every one the pain of having to hear them whine about this and blame every one else for their stupidity.

    December 31, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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