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. Marjee123

    Here we go.. Rick Perry who wants to take states right over the federal government, now wants to sue a state because it excerted it's rights. Guess it's ok to put states right first when you think you can make this administration look bad, but when it comes to what a republican wants, now now, that's a whole 'nother.....story, isn't it.

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Mr R

    Boy, the GOP can't take that they are just NOT qualified. Why is it Virginia never had a problem before? Maybe they need to rethink that maybe they are the problem and not Virginia. Oh wait...I forgot Republicans NEVER take responsibility for themselves. Always blame the "other guy" or the system. And only when it doesn't work for THEM.

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. BobAD Iowa

    Newt you put that one guy in jail and we'll think about it.

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. SteveK77536

    ... avoid "unnecessary costs and expenses to the state ..." They can't win, but a little extortion might work, hmmm?

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

    Here's a thought Newt, et. al.: you should have started collecting signatures before a WEEK LEFT BEFORE THE DEADLINE unlike the two candidates who DID make it on the ballot. And you people want to run the country? Ridiculous.

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. PNB1000

    And they are against frivolous lawsuits. Since when is a law that has been on the books for this long something you want to sue now when its not in your favor. Vote out all GOP in one sweep.

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. K3Citizen

    These fools spent so much time on New Hampshire and Iowa that they forgot about the rest of the states. If these clowns couldn't fill out standard paperwork then how would they take care of the serious presidential paperwork? Romney didn't have a problem, heck I bet Herman Cain even did it right before he had to leave!

    December 31, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. R. Harris

    One they knew what they had to do and failed to do it (mostly likely a fail from within there own organizations when other had no problems getting on the ballot), two can I sue Michele Bachmann for just being plain dumb?!? Three, none of the above are going o win the nomination anyways!

    December 31, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Steve J

    In other words, they are sore losers.

    December 31, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Tim

    More evidence that none of these people deserve to be even considered as their party's nominee, let alone President of the USA. Gingrich can't manage to vet someone they hired to solicit more than 10% of their required signatures and only overshot the mark by 1100 names, and following that blunder then talks about a sign-in campaign when the state doesn't even allow them? Do your research Newt.

    And the others, who didn't even submit signatures? Now they're suing? Did they not know about the requirements before hand? Are they that stupid? None of these jokers deserve to be on the ballot.

    December 31, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Nathan

    typical republicans...any other time they'd be screaming "Let the states make the rule!" I guess that only applies when they agree with the rules...

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

    Just like a republican, laws are nothing but an obstruction to them. Clean air laws, bad for business. Ethics laws, bad for making profits. Laws that govern redistricting, bad for getting reelected,...... Republicans don't like rules or laws, they like doing what ever they damn well please.

    December 31, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. syrik

    I live in Va. None of those people are wanted here. Stay out.

    December 31, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. talbet

    What a bunch of clowns.

    December 31, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Donaldbain

    How long have these rules been in place? Was anyone successful in fulfilling the requirements? Just because you or your staff couldn't cut it doesn't mean you can sue your way on to the ballot to get your way. Face facts, you did not prepare properly and you are behind the 8 ball. This isn't an elementary school or "everyone gets a trophy day" either. Legal wrangling to attempt to skirt the rules is pathetic.

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

    What a bunch of fools these Repubs are. Can't even find enough people to vote for them so now they have to sue and waste more taxpayer money.

    December 31, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. jim beranis

    It's sure messed up when half the top ten contenders aren't allowed on the ballot.

    December 31, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Just Wondering

    typical....... rule's apply to everyone but me, ain't I special...........

    December 31, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Capt. Obvious

    These sour grapes knew the state requirements prior to their involvement with no complaints. Ron Paul and Mitt Mormon satisfied the requirements, they didn't... that makes it unfair? If they had any issues they should've spoken up before instead of flunking the test then complaining that it's unfair. Ron Paul had no problems getting signatures.

    December 31, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. John

    So much for Republicans supporting tort reform. If you can't get enough signatures to get on the ballot, SUE.

    December 31, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. tfbuckfutter

    Is that good for saving tax payers money? Forcing states to defend frivolous lawsuits filed by candidates who have no shot of winning anyway?

    Oh, that's right.....Republicans are only outraged by government spending when they don't like what it's being spent ON. When it's something they want, spend away. Oh well....better a lawsuit than a war I guess.

    December 31, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Joe Rioux

    What a bunch of lames.

    December 31, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Peter Presnell

    Isn't this so typical of the way politics is going in this country. Two politicians didn't even attempt to register and another admitted the reason they fell short was because of fraud on their own part. Rather than accept responsibility for their own actions they want to blame the laws of the state. These people are a joke to which few of us are laughing! What we want is significant change in the way we are governed... instead we just keep getting more of the same. At this stage my vote is for "None of the above".

    December 31, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Rob

    Seems like the only 2 candidates sane enough by GOP standards made the cut, I see no problem here.

    December 31, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Jeff

    So, did they or did they NOT meet the deadline and requirements? Seems cut/dry to me. I think they should have been more on top of things early on rather than whining about it after the fact.

    December 31, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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