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. Texanwhohateshim

    What happened to his cries about states' rights? What a fraud and hypocrite!

    December 31, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. DrDave

    Don't you just love it? Conservative Republicans, who are normally out there railing against those awful "activist judges," and are so lustily for states' rights, are now asking a judge to toss out the rules that Virginia put in place.

    December 31, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. tonyS

    You mean "fraud" like that committed by some VOLUNTEER Acorn employees?

    December 31, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. Kevin

    I thought the GOP was all about states rights.

    December 31, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. Steve

    – They're too poorly organized to complete their registration properly.
    – They do not quality for the ballot, and are rejected as per the law.
    – They throw a tantrum, sue, and get what they want, despite their incompetence.

    By the way, isn't Ron Paul still running? And isn't he polling in second overall?
    And wasn't he one of only two candidates to receive sufficient public support?
    You don't hear much about him on CNN.
    Funny that.
    I'm going to stop reading CNN and find an unbiased news source.
    This anti-Paul censorship is just getting to a Fox News level of deception.

    December 31, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. timz

    Odd . . . I thought it was official GOP policy that it's essential that we add more obstacles to participation in the political process.

    Oh, that was only meant to apply to poor and minority voters, not to wealthy and incompetent GOP candidates? My bad.

    December 31, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Pizza

    Ironic to find the party intent on voter disenfranchisement finds candidates are excluded from the process. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the process play out.

    December 31, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. Gunny

    So let's see. You want to be the boss, but you can't follow the rules to get the job. Some of you didn't even try. You want to blame your bad organizational skills on the state. So if the rules are at fault then no one would be on the ballot. Maybe the people of virginia just don't want you.

    December 31, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Sterling

    What part of "FOLLOW THE RULES" don't these people understand?
    If I or my kids screwed up like this, we'd have to shut up and live with the consequences.
    Maybe it's time for these cry babies to find other work?
    If they can't run a campaign, how can they run a country?

    December 31, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  10. Pizza

    "unnecessary costs and expenses to the state and the parties" INDEED ! (Why bother with a futile legal battle? Go home.)

    December 31, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. bob

    they all knew the rules.

    December 31, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. KNITexan

    Kudos to Romney and Paul for following the law... Shameful that others can't verify their own submissions or get enough groundwork done to meet their goal. How effective would they be governing the nation if they can't even get 400 signatures in 11 districts? Pathetic!

    December 31, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. The GOP Clown Show Continues Unabated

    If they can't even follow the rules to get on the ballot, why do they expect to lead the country? Sheesh.

    December 31, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Boris

    These idiot candidates are now filing a lasuit to subvert their own election rules? .. If this isn't a joke about how dysfunctional the Republican Party has become, then I don't know what is.

    December 31, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. M Cuddy

    What a circus! This bunch wants to be President?

    December 31, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. shawn

    They are just butt hurt that they're not on the ballots. They obviously did something against the law or not enough to satisfy it. It's their problem.

    December 31, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. Gaunt

    In other words, they are suing because it is hard and they failed.

    December 31, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If repubes cannot play by the rules, then darn it, change the rules. After all, they are rich.

    December 31, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. JW

    I suppose Virginia is trying to keep rich, wealthy GOP'ers from voting for who they want? Yeah right. Waste of court time.

    December 31, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. Sam Adams

    A notable and newsworthy piece of information was omitted from the story, namely the party in power in Virginia that created the law in question. Was it not the GOP dominated legislature and governor that created this law?

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

    So, if any of these jokers gets elected, this is what we have to look forward to...changing laws to accommodate their incompetence, wonderful

    December 31, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. hilreal

    Whiners...learn the rules or don't play the game!

    December 31, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. JoeAmerica

    Ignorance is no excuse. GOP is all for state rights. It's the right of Virginia to run their process as they see fit. You failed. Get over yourselves.

    December 31, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. MikeInTn

    I'm sure it's been asked, but who thinks any of these four will even still be in race by the time Virginia votes? They all knew the rules and had ample time to get their names on the ballot. Talk about frivolous law suits....

    December 31, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. Beadles

    What a bunch of whiners. They didn't follow procedures – they need to grow up.

    December 31, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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