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. Harry

    ""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."

    A likely story coming from someone who is guilty of major ethics violations. I wouldn't doubt for one second he knew about it beforehand.

    December 31, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. This doesn't add up

    Part of me wonders what really happened; sure its the GOP but missing signatures to be on a ballot is a pretty enormous error, one I don't think would be made.

    Something is up. It just happens to the 1st place candidate (Paul) and the second place candidate (Romney) duking it out. I wonder whats REALLY going on here.

    December 31, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Hmmmm

    I understand how Gingrich didn't get on the ballot-but what about the others?-they didn't explain why they couldn't figure this election "thing" out-this does not bode well for their ability to lead..

    December 31, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Whiners

    What a bunch of whiners. Follow. The. Rules. Something this group of GOP candidates does not seem to do well.

    December 31, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. moxy

    It's only fraud if our side loses.
    Republicans - after they're done attacking each other. They'll be sicced on us

    December 31, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Bruce

    Cry me a river.........The whining wannabees don't think they should have to abide by the rukes. That's the problem with LOT of politicians they think they are better than everyone else–laws don't apply to them. A violation of free speech?? Give me a break. You didn't qu

    December 31, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Uh Huh

    Republicans are all for states rights to make up whatever crazy laws they want... until affects them personally.

    December 31, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. JimAR

    Can't figure out how to get 10,000 signatures in a state with 8 million people in it. And they want to govern the U.S.

    December 31, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Keith, US Citizen living in Canada

    If I could interview Newt, the question I would ask him is "WHAT IN THE HELL IS A PAID VOLUNTEER?"

    December 31, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. RJ Armonk

    For years, candidates that really wanted to get on the ballot in Virginia put in the effort to get the necessary signatures without any problem. These are NOT difficult requirements. Laziness can't be a valid excuse. Neither can irresponsibly hiring a worker that commits fraud on your behalf. If you are going to become President then you must be responsible enough to hire an honest campaign team. If they really wanted (or cared) to get on the ballot in Virgina then they should have made the effort
    !

    December 31, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Bob Lawblaw

    And here I thought that Republicans were against tying up the courts with frivolous lawsuits. Their hypocrisy is simply boundless.

    December 31, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. bob

    So much for states' rights, eh?

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. peacedog

    how dare the state of virginia stick to the rules. politicians don't play by rules. the only difference between politicians and babies are that babies eventually quit crying and grow up..............drink up, perry

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. strangerq

    Just remember that this is the same GOP that wants to make it harder for American to vote.

    Because the fewer Americans vote – the less likely the GOP is to lose.

    They are the most selfish greedy arrogant hypocritical bunch of d-bags ever to disgrace the American political scene.

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. fletch

    hard to understand the arguement here. aren't ALL these fools states rights advocates?

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. JimAR

    And Newt's already hiring incompetent crooks for his staff.

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Kude

    I wouldn't mind knowing specific reasons as to why they are suing...

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. kevininjc

    Wow...for a conservative party that espouses the rule of law, this is certainly a cranky bunch. Gingrich has already admitted he hired someone committing fraud. Exactly how is that Virginia's fault? Also, why didn't each of the other candidates get on the ballot? How long has this VA law been on the books? I don't recall hearing about this in the past in VA elections, so why are these people whining?

    December 31, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. LilOleMe

    Too bad we can't remove all Republicans from the national ballot come November 2012 🙂

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Phil

    They coulda got Acorn and the rest of the Dems to just sign dead peoples names on there, since they have a habbit of that.

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Anne

    So instead of admitting that they and their staff are incompetent they sue the state of Virginia. They knew what the rules were. The rules have been in place for a while. This is no surprise. Spoiled little children. I'd rather vote for someone who is competent.

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. dwt

    So much for States' rights...

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. JayT

    What a bunch of sniveling cry babies. If you can't manage your campaign well enough to get on a ballot you certainly have no business running the country. Why should we believe your choices in those people to assist you in running the country will be any better than those choices you've made in those you select to run your campaign? And now you're going to waste tax dollars of the People of VA by forcing them to defend laws they've had for decades? Another bad decision on all your behalves.

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Ilya Landa

    "We hired somebody who turned in false signatures."
    Whenever obama does well in any poll or a Democratic politician wins an election it is STILL blamed on Acorn.
    But when Gingrich does the same, he is the one who brings it up to be allowed to participate in one more primary. No one else seems to care.

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. peter

    Typical GinGroutch crap, blame anybody but yourself. Who will you blame for you lack of campaign funds? Pay off that bill at Tiffany's for that Big Bird looking 1980 Republican Hair do wife of yours?

    December 31, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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