Gingrich, rivals join suit against Virginia ballot rules

ATLANTIC, Iowa Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:52pm EST

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrives to meet with employees of the Atlantic Bottling Company in Atlantic, Iowa December 31, 2011.  REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrives to meet with employees of the Atlantic Bottling Company in Atlantic, Iowa December 31, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

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ATLANTIC, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidates who were unable to meet Virginia's requirements to qualify for the state's 2012 primary election joined a lawsuit on Saturday to get on the ballot.

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul managed to submit the required 10,000 verifiable signatures collected by registered voters in the state in order to get on Virginia's ballot for its March 6 primary.

One of the casualties was Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who was particularly embarrassed because he lives in northern Virginia.

Gingrich, along with other candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman joined a lawsuit already filed by Rick Perry against Virginia's Board of Elections.

"The challenge in Virginia isn't about the candidates and it is about the voters," Gingrich said. "For the voters in Virginia to be told that ... their options are limited to two people who between them are clearly a minority of the Republican voters is probably unacceptable."

At the same time, Virginia's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, told Fox News he is planning to file emergency legislation to loosen the requirements to get on the ballot.

"Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient," Cuccinelli said in a statement to Fox.

Gingrich said he was glad Perry, Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman were all involved in the suit.

"All five of us are saying ... this should not be a gauntlet to figure out how you can make it virtually impossible to run for president," Gingrich said. "This ought to be a system that enables the voters to decide who they would like to have run for president."

(Reporting By Jeff Mason; writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (14)
guys4me69 wrote:
Pathetic. You knew the rules, you knew the deadlines, there’s no crying because you weren’t nominated prom queen…

Dec 31, 2011 5:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Thaonnor wrote:
Funny, if there are that many who want to vote for these people, it shouldn’t have been that hard to get 10,000 signatures then eh? Basically it is idiots suing a state because they “forgot” to do what it takes to meet the Virginia rules? What is to stop 1,000 other candidates from registering in Virginia now if they get rid of the requirements to weed out candidates who do not stand a chance?

Dec 31, 2011 5:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
thirdtry wrote:
This whole episode strikes this Virginian as Keystone Kops. Makes me wonder if these folks could organize a picnic. All they had to do was gather 10,000 signatures (out of over five million registered voters as of 2008) using Virginians to collect the signatures (volunteers or hired hands) and submit them on time. No evidence of a ” broken system”, per Mr. Cuccinelli. Broken organizational skills — I could agree with that.

Dec 31, 2011 5:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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