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. Lobo Joe

    If one of these clowns gets elected, does this imply that we'll eliminate all wars because we couldn't get enough young people to join the armed forces?

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. steve pentecost

    why don't the "let's bomb the hell outta Iran" crowd, bomb the hell outta Va. ? These gnat-sized brainless cowards preach states ' rights just like Bush and Cheney (remember Fla.2000) until the states' rights do not conform to what they want. If you don't win at the ballot box go to the SCOTUS. Can't qualify to even get on the damn ballot sue the hell outta whoever. For a bunch of lawyer-hatin' SOB'S, they sure use them quite often. What losers can deal with the country's problems that can't deal with states' rights as far as ballot qualification is concerned? GOP in big trouble with this bunch of criing whiners.

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. John

    Oh boo the law inconvenient for them?

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. 1Love

    So much for the concept of "State Rights" all of these losers profess to support. Amazing how the rules were just fine until you failed to get your way.

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

    So you sue the state because you cant get enough people to sign your ballot...

    Typical GOP garbage.

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. jms58

    These idiots screw up and now want to sue someone because of their mistakes. Perry should be sued for being stupid.

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Damon

    ha ha...sour grapes.

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Brian

    sore losers?

    December 31, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Shawn Irwin

    Well, I guess they are not much on states rights, are they?

    December 31, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    This seems like a states rights issue. Doesn't VA have the right to determine which rules to follow for running a primary? Didn't they have two participants follow those rules? Why the lawsuit to get them to change, when it's clear that some people followed the existing rules? If you don't feel like following the law, you just get the law changed? Even if the screw up is something YOU should own?

    December 31, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. teedofftaxpayer

    What's funny is these Republican Candidates who have came out VERY MUCH against JUDGES legislating from the bench, now they're asking them to do THE EXACT SAME THING. God what a bunch of losers the Republican Party has. When is the Republican Party going to run someone who actually cares about theses UNITED STATES and now about what a bunch of wacko religious zealots think.

    December 31, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. bonester

    Guessing these GOTP presidential wannabes have never heard of personal responsibility.
    "I'm a moron with minimal organizational skills but, that being said, I'll sue!"

    December 31, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Concerned Citizen

    To all of the ones who aren't on the Virginia ballot perhaps two things happened. Number 1- If you cant meet the minimum requirements to be on a states ballot then that shows the amount of faith the republican voters in that state have in you. Number 2- it also calls in to question your campaign staffs dedication and attention to detail in making sure all of the T's are crossed and all the I's are dotted. I think the voters of Virginia know who they want to move forward in this republican race.

    December 31, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. urouttolunch

    What? These people (and their staff) can't read? I'm not surprised by Gingrich (hired a fraudster, failed to supervise, and it's somebody else's fault?), Bachmann and Santorum (well...there you go), but what the heck is Huntsman doing? If he didn't submit the necessary paperwork, he should just toddle off into the sunset on this one. For pete's sake, stay away from those other losers.

    December 31, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. doug

    "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.

    I guess that you can't keep an eye on everyone who is working on behalf of your campaign. It does not matter if you are handing in signatures to get on a ballot, or circulating a news letter. If Paul is to be held accountable, so should Gingrich.

    December 31, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Shane G

    So make the State pay because you are all too lame to get the required signatures? Get out of here. Why didn't Ron Paul have any problems?

    December 31, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Real America

    Why don't these candidates stop complaining, and expecting things to be just handed to them, and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and stop playing the victim. Isn't that what they are always telling everybody else?

    December 31, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. GrogInOhio

    Republicans opposed to voter suppression,,, only when it effects them, of course.

    December 31, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. tyler

    Today Perry was asked how he felt about Virginia suing him. He said "I dont remember being married to any woman called Virginia".

    December 31, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Xyoflight

    So Rick started a suit because a law didn't favor him and then four more politicians jumped on his bandwagon? Um hello.

    We have laws for a reason. It's the same reason why we don't allow gays to marry. Stick to your guns and support your laws or we'll have politicians changing laws to match their personal beliefs!!!


    December 31, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. komododr


    December 31, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Paul

    Mr Gingrich, if your guy didn't add false signatures, you wouldn't have enough signatures, and you would STILL be off the ballot. You have nothing to complain about.

    December 31, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. bob

    There's no loser like a sore loser.

    December 31, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Mike

    Wait, Gingrich hired people to turn in false signatures? And they're suing that they didn't win? What the heck?

    December 31, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. Asquian

    I read this as "four candidates who don't have a whelk's chance in a supernova of being the GOP's candidate get butthurt about it".

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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