Candidates join Perry's Virginia lawsuit
December 31st, 2011
04:40 PM ET
9 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. Ian

    "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.”
    So to reiterate, we have committed fraud. And are now suing you guys. So take that, Virginia.

    December 31, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. sameeker

    I predicted this the other day. Repugs are good at getting the courts to override the election process.

    December 31, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Tony Antin

    Much as I dislike all four of the candidates suing, I must admit that a primary with only two would not be very meaningful.
    But I'm afraid that Virginia is caught powerless to change from the web of legislation on the books. Oh well, just another chapter in the comedy book being written this year by the Republicans. I don't know how any normally intelligent person can take any of them (except maybe Romney) seriously.

    December 31, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Wendy B

    Leave it to a politician to not want to follow the rules, then whine when they get don't their way.

    "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."

    Three of them didn't bother to do the leg work required to get on the ballot. Gingrich at least tried. It doesn't say why the 5th one didn't make it.

    December 31, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. winnie the pooh

    Your fault, babe. You should have played by the rules.

    December 31, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Mags

    Frankly, if you are looking to be the next President of the United States .. its pays to do some research to find out what is necessary to qualify for a state's primary.

    You have no one to blame but yourselves ... so take some responsibility and stop whining!

    December 31, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Hal

    But they know their BIBLE real well. Thats all thet matters ask Tim Tebow.

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. flatbushfred

    I love this – the Grand Old Tea Party at war with itself. This is too sweet.....

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Sadie Boyd

    If you can't handle your own volunteers, what makes you think you can handle governing? Bring in the clowns with sour grapes.

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Marcnj

    Boohoo, follow the rules. The others did. Maybe not enough people wanted you on the ballots, go figure.

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. OrionStyles

    Heh, and they probably won't let them in now either, because this is an interesting opportunity.

    They'll now want to see who is going to win between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

    What I am interested in is in knowing the number of democrats that would switch and vote for Ron Paul. For certain no democrat could really bring themselves to vote for any of the other weasels up there... but Ron represents the libertarian ideals many of them would would choose. The problem as I see it, many Democrats are democrats because they fear the chronic authoritarian ideals of the neo-cons, but would happily go for regulated free markets as long as that deal is attached to real personal liberty.

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Hey candidates – if you are really motivated to save the state money by not filing a lawsuit, how about just not filing a lawsuit and accepting the fact that you didn't follow the necessary rules to get your names on the ballot?

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. GAK

    Isn't funny how the "States Rights" people are the one suing in FEDERAL court over their campaigns inability to follow the rules set forth in state law. Why should the courts over turn something that due to these candidates stupidity in NOT follow the law.Its really simple,10,000 names with at least 400 per Congressional district..DUH!!!! If they can't follow that rule How can ANYONE expect them to lead this country???

    December 31, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Tony Antin

    Much as I dislike all four of the candidates suing, I must admit that a primary with only two would not be very meaningful.
    But I'm afraid that Virginia is caught powerless to change from the web of legislation on the books. Oh well, just another chapter in the comedy book being written this year by the Republicans. I don't know how anyone can take any of them (except maybe Romney) seriously.

    December 31, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Super Mike

    How hard is it to get 10,000 valid signatures?? They had quite a while to get on top of this. Sounds like the left out candidates were just a little lazy...

    December 31, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. SD

    Odd. Five members of the party of "state's rights" is suing Virginia over an obvious state authority to set the rules regarding its elections. Hypcorites much?

    Funny part is none of these candidates are likely to be around when Virginia holds is primary, so the case is likely to be mute and a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Nicely done Cons.

    December 31, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Mike in SA

    Sorry, Gov Perry, but if you guys can't figure out the laws of Virginia, you lose.

    December 31, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. States rights

    Repugs, all for states rights until they disagree with them.

    December 31, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Mike

    Gotta love politicians and the whole 'rule of law' until you don't like it routine. Aren't these the 'State's Rights' candidates who now want to go to FEDERAL court to sue the states? Hypocrisy, GOP is thy name! I didn't get on Michigan's ballot–so maybe I should like Bachmann and Co–they didn't file either. And, Gingrich, really? It's the fault of one person? Should have earned for signatures so it wouldn't be close.

    December 31, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Martha Z.

    These are the people who won't allow gays to marry because "it's the law".

    Well well well...how nice that we have laws you bunch of arrogant political dimwits. Now eat your fahcking cake!!!

    December 31, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. brent

    Tell me, how on earth do these folks think they can run a country's government if they can't so much as run a campaign?!!!

    December 31, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Kenneth

    Cry me a river. Feel a sharp pain in your backside Republicans? That's karma biting you in the ass for trying to rig every election since 2000. You need help getting signatures? Next time try ACORN.....ooops!

    December 31, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. haha

    lol losers are mad bro

    December 31, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Bill Smith

    Oh this all sets a nice example and further explains what's wrong with politics today. "I'll just SUE ya!" If you can't play by the rules, just take your ball and go home!

    December 31, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Sarah

    Stop your whining! You couldn't get the signatures that you needed... I guess that should tell you how Virginias think of you as a candidate!

    December 31, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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