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. Bootstomper

    Let 's see the party that hates frivolous lawsuits. What a crew.

    December 31, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Ricardo

    Five losers. Who cares

    December 31, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Hola

    So dumb. I know how to drive. I'm a very capable driver. If I fail to sign up to renew my license, the government doesn't owe me a license. These guys didn't follow the rules, they don't get to be on the ballot. Plain and simple.

    December 31, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. sam111

    Anybody but Paul!!!

    December 31, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. cigarman

    All of them are sore losers. None of them could be elected DOG CATCHER. They all want to forgo the rules of an election in a Soverign state. If any judge goes along with these CLOWNS, the United States is in worse shape than anyone could imagine. They should all be put in jail and a large fine for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

    December 31, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. james

    typical response from over-grown babies... sue... how about you get the required 10,000 signatures... its not like they are asking for that many... if you cant get 10k, then do you really think you should be running for president? The population of virginia is close to 8 million...

    December 31, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. organically

    All 50 states should hold their primary on the same day!!!! This will eliminate many problems associated with our election process. Why should someone drop out because they finished in 4th place in Iowa??? What about where that someone finishes in the other 49 states? IOWA MAKES NO SENSE

    December 31, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. enough of the wicked "O"

    obama signs away Americans Freedoms, time for rebellion against the Faciat and Marxist DC Elites, Start the movement to rebellion today.

    December 31, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. n2video

    So once again, the GOP is trying to re-write laws that have been in place for decades to suit their agenda. If they can't abide by the law, they should NOT be on the ballot. Plain and simple.

    December 31, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. sam111

    Actually, anybody but Paul, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum* (*Google it!)

    December 31, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. colt45

    Look at Rick Perry's ACTIONS as Texas Gov. His WORDS on the campaign trail are utterly meaningless. He is very charming in small groups but is entirely motivated by POWER and MONEY.

    December 31, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Tom

    So if I am to interpret what was going on....the 10th Amendment lovers, who are also judicial branch haters (especially Gingrich), are filing a suit in federal court against the state of Virginia so that a judge may side with them?

    December 31, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Pat in IL

    Some of them were sloppy and others blew it off. They made their own choices to not abide by te rules, and I don't see any reason why those rules should be bent for them. VA has had the same rules for many primaries before this one.

    December 31, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. oneSTARman

    When only ONE THIRD of the NATIONAL CANDIDATES make it onto the State Ballot SOMETHING has to Change.

    December 31, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. LouAz

    I thought the Repub/TPers were big on STATES RIGHTS ? No SNIVELING !!!

    December 31, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. tcaros

    In the picture, Gngrich busted some gas right in Bachman's face.

    December 31, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Without knowing the details of this law and all, I do find it funny that the candidates who promote states rights and to heck with big government seem to be upset when it doesn't go their way. I'm sure if this was about a democrat candidate, they would be talking about how bad those dems are trying to mess with individual states

    December 31, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. Robin

    waaaaahhhh, I'm gonna stomp my feet and be a cry baby, I didn't get my way, I'm not on the ballot. Grow up, two of the candidates did their homework, hired the right people. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

    December 31, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. JPO

    Republican concept of States Rights: Leave everything up to the state except when it's inconvenient.

    December 31, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. Carl Isaacson

    How can you have paid volunteers?

    Three of the people suing didn't even try to qualify, but they maintain the rules for qualification are onerous? Really? More whining when you don't get your way? I don't understand how any of these people have any credibility left or how they think they are qualified to manage this country when they can't even manage to get on the primary ballot for one state. And this is Newt's home state (because Newt is a Washington outsider – living outside the boundaries of D.C. that is).

    December 31, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. JuanVonDinklus

    So Gingrich, if you're employee screwed up – why are you filing a lawsuit? You didn't meet the requirements. It is your fault. So why waste our legal system for your failures!

    December 31, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. ArooMadazda

    Rick Perry: State's rights!! Unless, of course, I am negatively impacted. What a hypocrite.

    December 31, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. tcaros

    Newt busted some peanut gas in Bachman's face. She took 3 full breaths of it in the picture.

    December 31, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. allyea

    That is are not able to get your name on the ballot in VA. If you are running for president of the US, get your name on the ballot, there is no excuse.

    December 31, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Explain To Me

    Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman didn't even try to get on the ballot so why are they whining now?

    December 31, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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