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. aMom

    Tough crowd those Virginians.

    December 31, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. TheArtfulOne

    There was a time when some politicos could serve as a role model. Obviously no longer true. Lose a baseball game? No problem, sue to make outs, hits! Can't pass Biology? No problem, sue to make it an intro to basketweaving class! To think that one of these folks could be our next president makes me shiver, so I'll obiously pass on highlighting these events with my kid.

    December 31, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. Jackson

    If you can't follow the rules, do not be upset with the results.

    December 31, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. buckup

    so much for state laws and states rights; election rules don't apply to these wannabees.
    It must be their first rodeo, or just bad planning. Let's make them president, so the rest of the world can roll us because we are idiots led by idiots.
    Harbinger of things to come if these poorly organized clowns continue to be elected. The wall street mess was caused by the republicans who are unable to figure what is going on, so they deregulate to duck responsibility and make a profit.

    December 31, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. Lenny Pincus

    So you have to follow specific rules to get on the VA ballot. Most of them don't, so they aren't. So their argument as to why they should be on it? It shouldn't be so hard. This is the party that is trying to disenfranchise voters by making it hard to vote. It's as if they are all on LSD.

    December 31, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Ron in Asheville, NC

    Hmm. It already strikes me as strange that there should be public money involved in financing what is in essence a private, political-party event. But, as I understand it, the "laws" Perry et al. are challenging are not state laws but party procedures, which, one would think, would, again, be private matters and thus not adjudicable by courts. Also, as I understand it, the law regarding write-ins for primaries (yet again, I don't see why the state should get involved) was the result of a recent Republican initiative designed to forestall chicanery, real or imagined. What is the state's interest in all this? Puzzled on several scores . . .

    December 31, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Tst4Eco

    Isn't the Republican party all about state's rights? This is the state law so wouldn't you have to abide by it if you believed the mantra of the party? Very interesting that they are all for state's rights until it goes against what they want.

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

    Hi, i am Rick perry and I cannot follow the rules so now i am going to cry to a judge that is going to tell me that if i can't read the election process rules and regs that I sure as hell do not need to be in the white house. But i am friends with the Bush's and I am exempt from the rules.

    December 31, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Shadebeads

    I thought all of these Presidential candidates were against the judicial side to rewrite laws? I am confused.

    December 31, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Sean

    If a candidate cannot manage to understand the rules regarding getting their name on a ballot, and then successfully do so, I do not feel they have the intellect needed to lead a country.

    December 31, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. What The

    If you don't follow by the rules, you don't get to play the game you silly goofballs.

    December 31, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. crappyname

    So Gingrich gets caught trying to pull a fast one and sues. This is typical gingrich good ole boy behavior. Just look at his record in Ga. This guy is a criminal and if those names were fraudulent then I demand that he be arrested and charged with voter fraud. He is a typical G.O.P. dirtbag.. Prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

    December 31, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. Newt the Fraudster

    You know what? If they win this lawsuit and get rid of that GOP regulation, I'll file as a candidate as well. I have the same chances of being the president as all the GOP candidates.

    December 31, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. Mikey

    Lets not have a repeat of the 2001 Florida situation. As much as I don't like these idiots they deserve to be heard.

    December 31, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Randy Johnson

    The GOP – what a joke this election – just a bunch of disjointed, unorganized, 'has beens' and scary radicals. They can't even follow the rules to get into a caucus. And then to top it off a guy like Gingrich filing a lawsuit because one of his own employees messed up??? I think Obama's strategy is right 'just wait for them to vote themselves off the island' Should be an easy victory next fall.

    December 31, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Thats why we need lawyers !

    Even clowns need counsel !

    December 31, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Justin H

    Perhaps the election laws need some work, but why would I want to vote for someone as president when they can't even figure out what they need to do to get on the ballot. Besides, 10,000 valid signatures seems like a pretty low threshold to meet.

    December 31, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Typical GOP-baggers, can't take responsibility for their actions.

    December 31, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Rick1948

    Duh – We were stupid and didn't read or follow the rules, so what should we do??? SUE! It's the American way.

    December 31, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Scott Arendall

    CNN reporter Kevin Liptak forgot to find out in WHICH COURT the lawsuit was actually filed. If his producers were paying any attention, CNN would have realized this glaring omission in the reporting of this news story. You guys cannot continue to perform amateurish journalism and pass yourselves off as professionals. Get the full story next time.

    December 31, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. allan

    Blame it on someone else like you fools always do. You all knew the rules and you blew it. You blew it.

    December 31, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. unretired05

    Perry, Virginia has too many pistol packers already.
    Newt, you can't get enough signatures in your home state, pathetic.
    Michelle Bachmann, Virginia is for lovers, see Newt for explanation.
    Huntsman, didn't want to spend the time/money on Iowa so why bother with Virginia? After your Iowa picks corn and New Jersey picks president comment, I doubt if you get any agriculture states votes. And you're supposed to be a diplomat?

    December 31, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. StatingDObvs

    What a group of whiners. They didn't satisfy the requirements, so what do they do? Cry that the requirements themselves are unfair. "No fair! No fair!" These are not people ready to lead the nation.

    December 31, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Rhonda

    So candidates who didn't even bother to get signatures want to end run the system? Funny how all the candidates were able to get on the ballot last election yet now it is an issue. Frigging sad group of hack candidates who don't think the rules apply to them!

    December 31, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. unretired05

    Ooops- a Rick Perry moment New Hampshire, of course I'm not running for anything.

    December 31, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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