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. stephen miller

    I have not seen defense bill but it is imperative that terrorist and political activist who wage war with us in premeditated acts against Americans and the free world must be dealt with as
    war criminals and subject to military laws and not as civilians under civil courts. the acts of violence against populace must be met forcefully and sometimes harshly in order to gather life saving intel or to eradicate a severe
    Threat to our citizens and its security. Our military must be able to act freely and unrestrained as freedom fighters in
    This war of attrition. A war that is not going away until murderers can be eradicated and/or imprisoned for life. Their vows and lives are commited to killing our sons and daughters and to that end we must be vigilant in whatever means necessary to preserve the inalienable laws of peace given to us in the liberties of a democracy.

    December 31, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. shawn

    Wait, I'm confused...I thought these people believed in less government?

    December 31, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. VBMot

    Bachman, Huntsman and Santorum are suing to gain something they never requested? How Presidential?

    December 31, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. Jim

    They didn't follow the requirements and one of them even committed fraud but its the state of Virginia's fault?

    Doesn't sound like any of them are organized or prepared enough to be president. This hasn't been an issue in past elections.

    December 31, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. Kenoscope

    You didn't do what I wanted, so I am suing you. Typical school yard bully tactics by spoiled brats. And yes, I do live in Texas, please vote AGAINST Perry.

    December 31, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. fenceclimber

    It probably should not be so difficult to get on the state of Virginia's ballot. Neither should it be made more difficult for people to vote like some of the new rules and laws would do.

    December 31, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. BlackDynamite

    If you can't get 10k signatures in a state, you don't deserve to get on the ballot for President.
    Maybe you can be a ballboy at a AAA baseball game?
    BD

    December 31, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. Steven Blancher

    Can't figure out one state, after years and years of people doing so. Want to run my country also? Now I have a real solid reason to laugh at everyone single one of these jokers.

    December 31, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  9. Mark

    If Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were able to get it done....there is no excuse why these other jokers couldn't get it done as well!

    December 31, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  10. RE McKay

    another group of politicians wasting tax payer dollars because they don't like the rules they themselves created. But since they are Republicans, they can do anything they want without consequences.

    December 31, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. fedup99

    Big surprise right? Law doesn't apply to any of these people. If there was something wrong with this law, why not change it before now? Or better yet why not change for those that come later. No, they feel that law shouldn't apply to them and it should be change to please them. And people actually want any of these fools as their president!

    December 31, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  12. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    It reflects awfully bad on Virginia that so many candidates are kept off the ballot. Somebody will a lot of power in that State will name some obscure law and undertake some secret/convoluted process to set that law aside and put everyone on the ballot.

    December 31, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  13. opus512

    Wait, voter registration fraud? So Newt Gingrich is as bad as Acorn?

    December 31, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  14. David

    "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...

    ...These are the same people that are accusing ACORN of doing the same thing.

    December 31, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  15. 12970

    Gingrich has no standing if the fraud was perpetrated by his own people. Secondly, the rules may be convoluted but, rules are rules, learn them and play by them. Hillary lost last time because of her lack of understanding of the caucus procedures. Florida created a mess in 2000 by counting dimpled ballots. If the law were followed to remove hanging chads and counting only properly punched ballots instead of the courts interpretation of voter intent we would all be better off..

    December 31, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It isn't a huge surprise. Not to do it would hurt them all.

    January 1, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  17. JBHedgehog

    This is like not completing an English paper and then complaining to your parents that the paper was not fair. If RP and MR managed to do this why didn't the others? This makes no sense at all and smacks of laziness and ignorance. Dopes.

    January 1, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. J.V.Hodgson

    Forgive me fellow Americans If I just a little in Litigious America slightly plaigarise a line from the Gilbert and Sullivan comedic operetta " The Mikado"
    I my lords ( read candidates) embodies the law which has no kind of fault or flaw and I my lords( ibid) the lord high executioner ( Virginia state board of elections) embody the law.
    Tough you did not comply with the law either by choice ignorance ( no excuse) and cannot make your point. In that state.... does not stop you campaigning and making your policies clear.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 1, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  19. carrie

    What a farce, talk about suppression of voter rights!!! Makes the picture id issue laughable.

    January 1, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  20. Joe b

    This is exactly what is wrong with America. If people don't get their way, they jump in and file a lawsuit which in the end costs tax-payers millions of dollars. Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum are what is wrong with America. Now that they have exposed as being a major part of the problem, please don't vote for them. It is truly sad, that these people just won't obey the law Instead they have to threaten to file a lawsuit because they aren't getting their way. Paul and Romney researched the law and abided by it. Now, we can all focus on the last two candidates in the primary race, Paul and Romney.

    January 1, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  21. Bart

    So, the Repubs who are constantly going off about how they hate trial lawyers and want to restrict the rights of people who sue corporations have the nerve to make a statement to the State of Virginia about how expensive litigation will be so the state should just cave in and not follow it's laws.

    Is this personal reponsibility? Is this pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? Is this family values? Is this what the founding fathers intended? Is this what's good for the country? Is this anything else the Repubs claim to be all about when it suits their latest newsblurb?

    January 1, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    Virginia is NOT having it – They can flex their muscles – and "muscelettes" – all they want and VA will not budge!!! Rules are rules and it's a shame not ONE of those "protesting" could get 10,000 signatures. ginGRINCH, on the other hand, came up with enough signatures but over 1500 of them were FRAUD – Really???

    Obama 2012!!!

    January 1, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  23. polite centrist

    What a great start for a new year!

    January 1, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  24. nunya

    Tough. Next time do it right.

    January 1, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  25. Confused

    Why are memebers of the party that trumpets states rights & less interference from the Federal govt, now suing the State of Virginia because they don't like their election laws?

    January 1, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
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