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. Confused

    The same canidates that are for state's rights and a smaller, less controlling Federal government are now sueing for the Federal judicial system to override a state's laws? Such hypocrites.

    December 31, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Vanity Case

    OH Boo Hoo! We don't like the rules and we want them changed. Gotta love Gingrich admitting to fraud. Way to go Newt! Can you imagine any of these four as President of the United State of America, If there is a God he'd better help us all if that were to come to pass.

    December 31, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Steelstrings

    If those five candidates that got shut out can't follow the rules, weren't aware of the rules or didn't have people on their team qualified to make sure errors weren't made, then they have no business even thinking about running this country..It's not like they all didn't know a year or so in advance they would be running for office.

    December 31, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. A. D. DiSorda

    "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."
    Is something wrong with this? If so, what?

    December 31, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Pete/Ark

    Lawyers and Lawsuits...the REAL backbone of American Democracy ! Can they square this with thier stands on Tort Reform?

    December 31, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. TM

    The Republicans would not utter a peep if this were happening to Democratic candidates. Aren't the Republicans the ones pushing for new laws IN VIRGINIA, and across the country, to combat alleged "voter fraud"? And when they are actually presented with a case where a REPUBLICAN candidate's staff has actually COMMITTED voter fraud, what do they do? They IMMEDIATELY SUE the state to CHANGE THE LAW! So, does the Grand Old Tea Party really believe in LAW and ORDER, or not, or just when it suits them?

    December 31, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Wingtips

    These people can't follow simple instructions, so they are suing the Commonwealth? It should be thrown out. It will seem like a foreign concept to them, but it's time they started being responsible for their actions ... and lack of action.

    December 31, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. woody

    If any one of them is elected, He or she will get rid of frivolous lawsuits.

    December 31, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Realist

    WHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Bunch of crybabies

    December 31, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. CTYank

    Kinda makes you wonder how these folks could ever make things work outside their repub echo chamber, when they have so much difficulty within. Yet another sign of incompetency and over-reaching?

    December 31, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Jered

    Wow! This comes as no surprise that these candidates are pretty much "blackmailing" their way onto the ballot. They couldn't manage to get on the ballots through Virginia's system and instead file a lawsuit – of course, if you don't get your way in this country, the solution is to sue. Now, they'll spin it to voters that lots of money and time could be saved if the state of Virginia just added them to the ballot. In reality, if the candidates would have followed the process in a timely manner, they would have been on the ballot. It looks like other candidates managed to do it without a problem.

    And before someone sounds off that I am against the GOP, I have no doubt Democrats would do the same thing.

    December 31, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Quest

    Wow !!!!

    I Love IT !!!

    If you are not winning ......

    Just change the Rules in the Middle of the Game !!!!

    December 31, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Rachel

    They're all rediculous. The American dream, 'sue, sue, sue.' They should use the money they are going to spend on lawyers in feeding the people in Virginia that have no food to eat.

    December 31, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. kman02

    I love everybody.

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

    This has been the process in Virginia, with no previous republican candidates finding fault. Now that you failed to qualify now you are calling foul.

    December 31, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. hjs3

    Don't like the rules? Of course let's change 'em and drag this catharsis out even more
    and further illustrate how absolutely unelectable they all are....
    Patheitc!

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

    Lets see if I understand this. Conserative Repubs, who are for states rights, feel that a states laws are illegal if they won't let those same Repubs do what the want to do? Wow!!

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

    Apparently a large number of the GOP are incapable of counting! We can add that to the list of shortcomings , along with an inability to speak or read the English language, knowledge of geography, no understanding of US or world history, and no knowledge of world cultures. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. GOP 5th Grade Teacher

    Sorry Ricky, Michelle, other Ricky, John and Newt, a judge can't let you sue your way onto the Primary Ballot. Like all law, it's about the precedent. If you make the ballot, we'll have kids all over the country suing teachers for giving them zeroes on assignments they turned in late or did incorrectly. You'll just have to try harder next time, follow the instructions and try to be more like little Ronny and Mitt. Also, we're sending notes home to your parents.

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. TheMovieFan

    Such hypocrites!!! Republicans apparently are the only ones who should have the right to sue.

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Plebeian

    Makes sense... Pass laws making it harder to vote in the first place = good republican values. Whine, complain and sue when you can't get on ballot for said election = good republican values. Are these really the people we want running the country?

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Steven Brooks

    Haha!

    Reality is finally catching up to these delusional smooth-brains and they can't handle it.

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. sear

    umm hey u morons nobody cares if ur suing that state.. nobody likes u

    December 31, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. VbdVbd

    So what about state's rights? they don't want to play by well established state rules that have been in use for decades.

    December 31, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Absolutionis

    So when the law doesn't suit their agenda, they sue. Seems like presidential material. I'm actually quite disappointed that Huntsman joined the batch; he seemed like the sensible one.

    December 31, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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