Gingrich makes Virginia ballot; others miss out

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:51pm EST

1 of 8. Protesters disrupt a news conference by U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich after he got the endorsement of Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, December 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's last-minute scramble to make the ballot in the Virginia primary succeeded, but other candidates were left out in the cold.

Gingrich, a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, was forced to detour from the campaign trail on Wednesday and Thursday to secure the necessary 10,000 signatures to appear on the ballot in the key swing state.

According to the Virginia state board of elections, Gingrich made the ballot with 11,050 signatures, which is short of the 12,000 to 13,000 he said he had at an event in Arlington, Va. on Wednesday night.

Republican candidates Jon Huntsman, a former governor of Utah, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania failed to make the ballot.

Mitt Romney, another frontrunner, led the way in Virginia, delivering more than 16,000 signatures. U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who is a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, handed in 14,361, and Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered 11,911.

Gingrich supporters and critics have voiced concern about whether the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker has the organization necessary to take on Romney for the Republican nomination and President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

(Reporting By Sam Youngman; Editing by Paul Simao)

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