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. RCBinTN

    It's clear to me. Romney and Paul are the only candidates who can read and follow the rules. The others just make blow-hard threats.

    December 31, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. gremlinus

    Without getting partisan (as in I think this applies to any candidate) if you can't get enough signatures in a state like VA without someone committing fraud how strong is your campaign? If this guy turned in 1500 bad ones, if you had strong support it shouldn't have mattered. Either many of these guys have a weak campaign or some seriously lazy staffers.

    December 31, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. DaleW

    What a bunch of hypocrites! All of them want states rights and big government to keep out of their business...except when the state's rights conflict with their wants.
    You can't have it both ways clowns!

    December 31, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Ronny Hardaway

    Does anyone else think it is laughable that these Republican candidates tout states' rights until state laws covering primary ballots legally prevent them from appearing on a presidential primary? They really don't believe in anything except their election as president. Hyprocrites!

    December 31, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Randy Johnson

    What a disjointed, unprepared, fractionalized, motley crue of nitwits the GOP is this year. I think they should all have to provide copies of their birth certificicates – not to prove they are American but to prove the are over the age of 8.

    December 31, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Ron Paul

    Cry babies! These hacks support restrictive voter laws that essentially disenfranchise a lot of people, but cry foul when OUR part rules against them. It's state law, it was certified by the Republican Party. Case closed!

    December 31, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. RINO Bil

    The action of these four fools is disgusting. Virginia, or any other state, has the right to make the rules as they see fit.

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. NoTags

    All the plaintiffs are professional politicians, who with their staffs should have been able to follow established Virginia protocol for getting their names on the ballot.

    Failure to follow Virginia law rests squarely on their shoulders and the suit should be dismissed.

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Idiotsabound


    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Music Magic

    But its ok to change every law that the Repubs can to make sure low income, minority, and elderly Dems cant vote or makes it almost impossible for them to. Fricken little whiners lol

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. D-Man

    The irony of these people crying about their exclusion is incredibly funny. When lots of little rules keeping people from participating actually apply to them, then they suddenly care. African Americans everywhere are shedding no tears for these fools. If Newt Gingrich cannot figure out how to ensure that he has enough signatures, then maybe he lacks the right attention to detail needed to run the country.

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Dave

    Four other loser-whiners "join Perry's Virginia lawsuit."

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. PJ

    Virginia can't vote for someone like Romney!!!! The guy is a fraud.

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. YourMom

    Yeah take on Virginia. You'll beat them no problem...pffft.

    December 31, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. CarolO

    So, not one of these candidates was smart enough to check on the voting requirements in Iowa but now want to sue the state because they didn't take the time to know?

    December 31, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Mickey

    Equal opportunities, not equal outcomes! You folks had a chance to get on the ballot following the rules like everyone else and you didn't, get on with life.

    December 31, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Tiffany

    Get it through your little pea heads, Virginia doesn't like you!!

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

    The laws in Virginia haven't recently changed, so all the candidates should have been aware of them. That they were unable to get their campaigns together enough to meet those requirements speaks to the incompetency of their campaigns, not to the laws themselves. Do we really want a President who can't get his/her campaign organized enough to secure so few signatures? And now they are just being childish and demanding special treatment.

    December 31, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. FedUpWithLife

    Sue Virgina for everything it's got. If it can't pay up throw it out of the Union!

    December 31, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Mary

    Well boo hoo. If it were the Dem's wanting to sue, the Republicans would be ragging on them big time telling them to follow the rules!!

    December 31, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. KumQuat

    It seems to me, if you can't follow the rules to get on the ballot, how are you fit to be chief executive of the United States? The POTUS has to be one who can get things done, not whine about the rules being "too onerous".

    December 31, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. A. D. DiSorda

    I like my State's rules. It restricts the pretenders and media-based "candidates" to where they belong in the blogosphere.

    December 31, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Vince

    If all of the candidates faile to get in then I would understand the suit, but if 2 could figure it out and some didn't even turn in the signatures required at all, that's just incompetent!

    December 31, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Lulz

    This sure makes them all look like super good candidates for president! What a joke..

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

    These election laws were written by Republicans to reduce ballot access. The chickens come home to roost. At the same time these Republicans are doing everything they can to keep people from voting with their ID laws. Always claiming this is done to protect against fraud which they can't show exists.

    December 31, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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