Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit
December 31st, 2011
04:40 PM ET
11 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. Bob

    Get over it and move on..

    December 31, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. Jason Hendricks

    GOP: All for states' rights....

    Unless it proves to be a burden for the GOP.

    December 31, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. intnva

    Nobody in VA wants this republican circus in our state.

    December 31, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. kt

    IMHO, if you can't even follow the rules for getting on the ballot in Virginia then you probably lack the capability of leading the world's greatest nation. Sour grapes over this from these candidates only magnifies their own incompentance.

    December 31, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. larvadog

    They'll get their names on the ballot whether Virginians want them there or not.

    December 31, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Rick1948

    Great. So there isn't 10,000 people in the entire state of Virginia that think any one of them is good enough to be the President. What a shocker-roonie?! Maybe it's because none of them are.

    December 31, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  7. TexDoc

    Rules were there for a long time. If you can't run a campaign, hire someone to look into the rules and field a team, how are you going to hire a white house staff–and follow the rules. The rules set by congress for the executive branch can be quite complicated!

    December 31, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. scrolldetails

    gee, these are the same guys very concerned about voter fraud, setting up very difficult voter registration and ID rules to maintain the purity of the voting booth and making sure that everybody follows the same rules, except when it does not apply to them. How hard is it to collect 10000 signatures when you have months to do so? Newt had the best excuse-a new version of "my dog ate my homework".

    December 31, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Tomis

    They didnt have a problem with it until they were told they wouldnt be on the ballot. I dont know much about their rules but if a nut job like Ron Paul can get enough signatures it must not be that difficult. They should, however, be allowed to run a write in campaign if only because it would bring revinue to the state.

    December 31, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Garrett

    I believe Newt Gingrich, but the other candidates do not have a leg to stand on..

    December 31, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Kathie

    Romney and Paul are the only ones able to get it right? Perry – screaming about states rights and now sues? Gingrich – you can't even control your staff so of course you'd join the lawsuit. and the bottom of the barrel is Bachman, Huntsman and Santorum. what a great bunch of idiots.

    December 31, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Rick in AZ

    Typical Republican nonsense. They didn't get on the ballot because they were too lazy or too stupid to comply with the rules. Sue, Sue, Sue. Such a bunch of losers.

    December 31, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Fred D.

    Sore Losers. They all knew the rules and didn't comply. Is this who anyone wants to be POTUS? At least Romney & Paul are organized.

    December 31, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. mike l

    Pretty funny–Republicans suing republicans. Hey, you guys all knew the rules.

    December 31, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Paul

    Gingrich blames a "paid volunteer". How can you be a paid volunteer? You are either an employee/hired i.e. paid or you are a volunteer i.e. not paid.

    December 31, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  16. Larry - Hazleton, Pa

    This is quite normal for the conservatives without consience – they fail to follow there own rules and then want to change the rules to fit there needs. cry babys the whole lot of them.....

    December 31, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  17. trex

    ......typical republican..........dont play by the rules, and then try and CHANGE THE RULES........typical republican............

    December 31, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. SS

    So in other words the two front runner candidates, Paul and Romney, had the proper organization and the other ones didn't? Not surprised in the least.

    December 31, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Jim

    These minor candidates failed to clear a low bar, 10000 good signatures, to qualify for the VA primary. We need to choose a candidate, not encourage a pointless circus of unqualified and inept clowns in pursuit of our highest office.

    December 31, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. TellasisPatel

    Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman, Bachmann and Santorum – they all ignored or failed to meet the necessary requirement of their Republican Party. Now they are threatening:
    Give us what we want to avoid "unnecessary costs and expenses to the state and the parties" that would be incurred as a result of our lawsuit.
    I am shocked that Huntsman joined this crowd.

    December 31, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  21. MAngeline

    Guess VA will have to change their rules for these jerks. They knew what was needed...sounds like poor organization skills to me. Bet you though these folks all favor things like picture ID to vote. I live in MA in a complex housing alot of elderly. Wonder how many of them have pic IDs...most don't drive any longer (Thank God!)

    December 31, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  22. BrofromtheO

    Maybe they'll get it right one of these day.

    December 31, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Dan

    If you can't run an organization well enough to get on the ballot, you have no place trying to run the country.

    Newt – The fact that you hired a fraudster and didn't bother checking on him only makes you less suitable to run the country.

    December 31, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  24. johnharry

    how come Virginia's law is only an issue this year? I guess Virginia voters were just not that important enough. Do people not have caring support members in Virginia? Suck it up cupcakes, get back to lying and cheating, crying.

    December 31, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. Linda

    What a bunch of whiny little babies! They need to play by the rules, Virginia shouldn't cave in to a bunch of brats.

    December 31, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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