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. nytw

    Always good to see Republicans looks for an activist judge to make new state law. Wouldn't want any of these candidates to accept responsibility for their incompetence.
    I wonder what other big liberal federal government actions Newt, Perry, Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum want an activist judge to take.

    January 1, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  2. patw2100

    I wonder why Virginia changed their law this year?

    January 1, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  3. Ham

    Well if Newt can't even control the people he hires then how could he possibly be presdient. Sound familiar?

    January 1, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  4. mb

    Whiners. Play by the rules or don't play. You knew the rules. If you don't like the rules of Virginia, don't try. Huntsman (etc.) didn't try to get on the ballet. So why is he complaining now?

    January 1, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Does this mean that Perry is now against State's Rights? When did he change his mind about that? I guess it only matters to him when it affects his agenda,huh?

    January 1, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  6. Bigereads

    Does this mean that Rick Perry is no longer campaigning for State's Rights? When did he change his mind about that? We've all heard him pontificate about State's Rights over and over, but now he doesn't think Virginia has any rights to determine how they will run their voting activities. Rick Perry doesn't really understand much about anything other than shaking hands and spewing Bible verses, which sicken me when I see some worthless politician trying to pimp Almighty God for his own political purpose. Rick Perry is too stupid to even be ashamed of himself.

    January 1, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  7. toocy

    They're all for state's rights until they're not.

    January 1, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  8. Jared

    Ok, I don't know about the rest of you, but doesn't this statement seem very oxymoron "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." PAID VOLUNTEERS?????lol

    January 1, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  9. Confused

    The Virginia State Law is not a new thing. It has always been there. What makes these yahoo's think they are special? Suck it up buttercup, put your big boy underoos on and deal with it. You did not comply with what was required. No ones fault but your own. Stop trying to hang someone out to dry, Gingrich. Accept that you did not get the amount of signatures you needed in order to be on the ballot and move on.

    January 1, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  10. Tannim

    So if we have this straight, Gingrich and Perry blew it, Santorum and Bachmann and Huntsman didn't even try, and now they are having a collective snit-fit over it.

    Our hearts bleed for these failures. #sarcasm

    Meanwhile Paul and Romney did just fine and got on. If I'm them, I'm asking the court for summary dismissal with prejudice.

    Seems to me that the others need a Clue-by-Four to the heads for being stupid, unorganized, or simply lazy.

    The suit should be laughed out of court.

    January 1, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  11. Tracie

    none of you are going to win anyways...give it up now.

    January 1, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  12. Stephen

    Funny how republicans always cry and moan about frivolous lawsuits....this is the definition of frivolous.

    January 1, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  13. internet

    im pretty sure god is sending a message to not have the most corrupt politicians on that ballot

    January 1, 2012 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  14. Harry Wreckdom

    Sorry – Ya snooze, ya lose...........

    You're all a bunch of sad, sore losers I'm afraid...........

    Rules were in place for over 40 years – if you don't know by now, too bad.........

    January 1, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  15. Lorraine Hall

    It doesn't matter what the republican party of the state of Virginia requires. The fact is they REQUIRE IT. Meet the requirements or you don't get on the ballot. What don't these 5 candidates understand about responsibly meeting the clearly stated expectations of their own party in Virginia? Onerous? Humph! Only if you fail to get the ground work done as necessary in order to qualify. They didn't do the work. They don't get the privilege of being on the ballot. They blew it big time. It's embarrassing. They want to make it the fault of the Republican party in Virginia rather than accept responsibility for their own lack of due diligence. Buncha babies.

    January 1, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  16. AJ

    I'm sorry but if you can't do the grunt work then you shouldn't run. I am a Virginia native and I did not get the annoying phone calls and knocks on my door asking for support for any of these candidates.

    January 1, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  17. Scott

    How pathetic that "serious" candidates for President of the United States can't even get the organization in place to even get on the ballot. So in true political fashion they are going to sue to get their way. Man, I sure would be excited to see one of these clowns running the most powerful country on earth.

    January 1, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  18. Burger

    What a bunch of whining babies. If you can't play by the rules....sue! Gotta love it! Losers.

    January 1, 2012 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  19. Dug

    Typical gingrech and perry .if u dont like what happen try to change the 100 year old tradition to fit thier needs.

    January 1, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  20. FreedomFeen

    "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." for Gingrich, he hires people who commit fraud? Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement.

    January 1, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  21. Anne

    I'm rather surprised Gingrich didn't meet the requirements. As for the rest, it just shows that they're not viable candidates in Virginia.

    January 1, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  22. GMC

    Thanks for the class action to disclose who not to vote for in 2012. Mr. Huntsman – stay away from Calef's. Mr. Perry is a cow patty.

    January 1, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  23. GMC

    I also want America to take a long look at this potential "oligarchy" that would fight and defend every last dime in their paychecks over your soldiers' paychecks were the government to shut down.

    January 1, 2012 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  24. Ryan

    Though I am leaning towards Romney, all involved should be allowed on the ballot. Don't disenfranchise voters with these lame laws.

    January 1, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  25. Alex

    Ron Paul vs. Mitt Romney. Seems like these are the two main contenders probably. Should be interesting, Status quo vs. new type of government. Status quo has gotten a bit old tho.

    January 1, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
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