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. Anonymous

    the irony of this is mind blowing...

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. humanbeing

    sour grapes...when the law benefits them, they smile....when they do not comply with the law, they sue to have themselves included.

    republicans...remember the hanging chad...

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Lane

    Ah yes, good ol' American value: sue 'em!

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. steve pentecost

    Let's all stand and whine as stoically as possible. It's maddening to imagine any of these lame brains as POTUS.

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. jdizzle1337

    Oh now THIS is rich. Wait are these people from the party of "over litigious society"? This is the party that complains about too much litigation and lawyers, and then what do they do, as soon as things dont go their way they lawyer up and ask for the courts to save them. This is simple, there are RULES to get on the ballot in Virginia everyone knows the rules ahead of time some of the candidates met the criteria for ballot access and some did not. The ones that were not popular enough to get on the ballot now want the "activist courts" to save them......this is extremely ironic.

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. JT

    Its gotten so bad in the G.O.P. field that they are essentially "grading on a curve".

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. billy davis

    The GOP are all for laws as long as they don't work in their favor. This group wants to be POTUS but they don't have the ability to qualify for the election in Virginia. What a lack of preparation.

    December 31, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. JJinCVCA

    Astonishing. Completely astonishing to no end. Talk about hypocrisy to the umteenth level. Imagine the nerve of a group of people who espouse themselves to supporting states rights, to limiting the scope and influence of the federal government in states rights, who claim sincerity as they frown on legislating the law from the bench... imagine them calling foul when the law in question doesn't suit them. The Reublicans are a bunch of losers.

    December 31, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. g

    if you dont qualify its clearly the people whom you applied withs fault

    December 31, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Reggie from LA

    OK, so then the courts say "Oh no, can't have that. We must fix this...I mean adjudicate this." Then they'll go in the back room and shake hands then we'll all live happily ever after, right?

    December 31, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Geoff

    If you run such a terrible campaign that you can't get on the ballot, I feel there is adequate evidence that you are unqualified for the job.

    December 31, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Laughable

    So let me get this straight. Since these jack legs couldn't follow some simple directions, they are going to sue the people of Virginia and threaten the high costs of litigation on this matter? If you become president, you dont get do-overs when you screw up, so get used to it. Tough lesson, don't let them off the hook, Virginia!

    December 31, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. dicerotops

    Why are Bachman, Huntsman, and Santorium suing when they didn't even submit applications! This is an election to become the PRESIDENT of the United States. Every other president has fulfilled Virginia's requirements. Ironic how they all profess state rights and hate "activist judges" until the state doesn't work in their favor and they need the 'activist' judge.

    December 31, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. cgridley

    Is it just me or does anybody else notice that the political hacks in this country think they are above the rules??? Why iis it Mitt and Paul played by the rules and the rest of the clowns couldn't ????

    December 31, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. dayhiker48

    Just too funny to be true. What a pack of inept losers.

    December 31, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Jannynet

    Seems like sour grapes to me. I've only lived in Virginia 6 years and feel that if it's worked for Virginians all these years, why change it. Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter, in other words 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'. Who do these clowns think they are.

    December 31, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Mutzy

    And here I thought they were all about tort reform

    December 31, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. ddrew78

    While I do believe all candidates should have a chance to be on the ballot, I don't believe Virginia's laws are that bad. If you can't get 10K signatures in a state with several million people, you probably shouldn't waste your time with the campaign here anyways. Try to win a different state instead.

    December 31, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Captain Beefheart

    They knew what the requirements were to get on the ballot quite some time ago. I'm not sure I've heard of anyone else screwing it up like this in Virginia. How come Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were able to get it done correctly and in time? Does this hint at any of the candidates ability to lead the country? Is this the approach they will take every time something doesn't go their way – sue to get their mistake fixed? I doubt this is the "most onerous" ballot law in the nation, and I'm surprised Perry could use it correctly in a sentence. And there's no doubt in my mind that Newt is lying.

    December 31, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Gabrial

    Poetic. Supposed conservatives now asking the federal government to regulate how the state of Virginia regulates its primary election. Romney, Paul and Virginia have a legitimate beef with these supposed conservatives. This would be a dangerous precedent!

    December 31, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. David Purvis

    Again, the GOP whines like – ________________________ fill-in the blank.

    December 31, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. larry

    Another frivious lawsuit!!! lol

    Typcial republicans...dont like the rules, use the courts to change them. Hope they get an non-activist judge!!

    December 31, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Aren't these the "States rights" guys. Shouldn't they let Virginia make its own rules.

    December 31, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Dave

    Typical politicians. It's always someone else's fault when they can't follow the rules.

    December 31, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. joe

    hahaha what a bunch of clowns. If they can't handle something this simple, how are they suppose to be able to run the country?

    December 31, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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