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. Pvt Joker

    Well it seems to me that these 5 Canidates LACK common sense!!! if you know the rules and know what you have to do then you follow them... You dont make the state change the law cause your to LAZY!!!!

    December 31, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Ken Billows

    So much for state's rights?????????? They are for it until they want an activist judge to overturn a law???

    December 31, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Muzyck

    So the great GOP front runners who think that the Federal Govt.has too much power are resorting to a Federal lawsuit to fight a state law?

    December 31, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. DigitalCoke

    As the first post, They are stupid for not getting things done right. how will they run a country if they cant even collect signatures correctly....

    December 31, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. JGIP

    They didn't get the job done ... so start a fight to change the rules ... thats the problem now. I think it just determined MY vote.

    December 31, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. cklutch

    Their own fault, morons.

    December 31, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. jerseygirl

    What does their failure to comply say about the quality of their campaign staff. Romney and Paul managed to comply.

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Vincent Yau

    How could anyone vote for a candidate whose organization, or lack there of, couldn't get enough valid signatures to appear on a primary ballot? And then sues the state because they didn't get their way? If they can't get competent people to work for them or allocate enough of their campaign resources to do something as basic as getting on the ballot, how can anyone expect them to run a country?

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    What a bunch of loons.

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Mr. Happy

    So when republicans make voting harder for people in some states that may not have the identification that is now required( the elderly and the impoverished are having the hardest time, yes they may be eligible for a free ID but they need a birth cert. and not everyone has a copy of that and it usually costs money to get a copy.) It's intention aside it will affect more democrat votes then any other in comparison.Now back to the point, these new voter laws they have implemented in the name of voter fraud prevention are good stuff to them.
    But now a voting related law one that has been in affect a long time and no one has had an issue with till now. They some how have not met requirements for what ever reason it is even fraud activity, ( maybe if you don't offer money for signatures no one would try to commit fraud?) they are all upset about it and feel like they deserve it.

    I'm so amazed and ashamed where politics are going these days...

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Huh???

    The rules have been the rules for how long??? And, assuming they are adults...they would KNOW the rules? Now they want to cry like babies??? Ya'll effed up, get over it! I won't vote for any of these five, even if they do make it onto the ballot, simply because they screwed up and in typical "not my fault" fashion tun to litigation. THEY epitomize what is WRONG with this country!!!

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. herb romm

    a candidate has no right to sue a state Because they were unable to get enough signatures to qualify for that states primary. they need to just accept the fact that they can't don't qualify. The rules have been in place for a very long time. No crying foul because they didn't get enough signatures.

    To show i'm not biased against any particular candidates involved in this lawsuit, my preference for our next president is among those involved in the law suit. i would like to see president Michelle Bachmann as our next president

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Dave

    WIll they also let Harpo, Bozo and all the other clowns on the ballot?

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. jao

    what a bunch of loons.

    December 31, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Ironsides

    I guess now they know how if feels when their party blocks voters from voting because of some lame law their party puts into the state voting system.

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Nat Q

    Why not. When you can't play by the well-established rules, sue!

    It's the GOP way.

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. dcl

    This is the hubris of this group of GOP candidates on display. (Before you say it, Obama is only MARGINALLY better).

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Rebecca

    How are these people this self-important? I hope a sinkhole opens and swallows the lot.

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Jaynicia

    You gotta be kidding...

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Robert

    Maybe they should have gotten more signatures like Ron Paul and Romney did ,10000 isn't that hard to get out of a whole state,especially when you've had months to do it.The system set in place, has worked fine before.Just because you guys cant manage your campaigns you expect the rules to be bent for you(like your above the law)I guarantee if Ron Paul hadn't been able to get on the ballot all the media would say it just proves his lack of leadership to be president and not even consider putting him on the ballot.

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    ..............All of whom have no chance whatsoever in getting the GOP nomination. Funny, where were these people when the Florida ballots were being butchered and not counted in 2000? Well?!?!?!?!?!

    December 31, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Andrew Hall

    Wasn't the time to register a protest about any given state's criteria back at the beginning of the election cycle...? There is an aura of sour grapes here.

    December 31, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Ppeterdds

    Sort of funny how these folk are supposed to be the 'States Rights' candidates...(?)!

    December 31, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Chaz

    If these morons cannot even follow directions, i def do not want them leading the country.

    December 31, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    The Republican Party, once again, want to use "activist" judges to overturn election laws or bi-laws!

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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