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SALT LAKE CITY -- As Republican presidential candidates make their final preparations before the Iowa caucuses on Jan 3, two candidates have been diverted to challenging a state's law which kept them off the Virginia primary ballot.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently learned they failed to meet the qualifications to have their name on the Virginia ballot; a state where Gingrich resides. Only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul were the only candidates who qualified for the ballot.
Virginia state law requires candidates to obtain 10,000 voter signatures, with at least 400 coming from each congressional district, to qualify for the state primary. The state primary will take place on March 6 -- Super Tuesday -- leaving both candidates little time to challenge Virginia law.
On Tuesday, Perry's campaign filed a federal lawsuit against Virginia, challenging the state's ballot requirements.
"Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election," said Perry's communications director Ray Sullivan in a prepared statement. "We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support."
(T)his isn't a partisan or even candidate specific thing, but far more important, about the right to vote in Virginia on the presidency. The people of Virginia expect their right to choose to be upheld.
Paul Goldman, former Virginia Democratic party chairman and lawyer, will represent the conservative group, Citizens for the Republic, who plan to challenge Gingrich's disqualification from the Virginia ballot.
"(T)his isn't a partisan or even candidate specific thing, but far more important, about the right to vote in Virginia on the presidency," Goldman wrote in a statement. "The people of Virginia expect their right to choose to be upheld."
Following Virginia's announcement that Gingrich failed to meet qualifications to be on the ballot, Gingrich's campaign director Michael Krull wrote on Facebook that he and Gingrich believed the setback is analogous to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re- group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action," Krull wrote.
Speaking to supporters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Romney said he would compare the setback more to an episode of "I Love Lucy," not the attack on Pearl Harbor.
February 7, 2012:
- Colorado (caucus)
- Minnesota (caucus)
- Missouri (primary)
- Arizona (primary)
- Michigan (primary)
- Alaska (caucus)
- Georgia (primary)
- Idaho (caucus)
- Massachusetts (primary)
- North Dakota (caucus)
- Ohio (primary)
- Oklahoma (primary)
- Tennessee (primary)
- Vermont (primary)
- Virginia (primary)
- Kansas (caucus)
- U.S. Virgin Islands (caucus)
- Alabama (primary)
- Hawaii (caucus)
- Mississippi (primary)
- District of Columbia (primary)
- Maryland (primary)
- Wisconsin (primary)
- Texas (primary)
- Connecticut (primary)
- Delaware (primary)
- New York (primary)
- Pennsylvania (primary)
- Rhode Island (primary)
- Indiana (primary)
- North Carolina (primary) West Virginia (primary)
- Nebraska (primary)
- Oregon (primary)
- Arkansas (primary)
- Kentucky (primary)
- California (primary)
- Montana (primary)
- New Jersey (primary)
- New Mexico (primary)
- South Dakota (primary)
"I think he compared that to Pearl Harbor? I think it's more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory," Romney said. "You've got to get it organized."
Gingrich's campaign said they would promote a write-in campaign during the primary, even though write-ins are not allowed under state law.
Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman did not qualify to have their names on the ballot because their campaigns did not submit any signatures.
Related political news:
The Wall Street Journal discovered a memo Tuesday written by Newt Gingrich that praised Mitt Romney's health care law passed in Massachusetts. "The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system" Gingrich wrote. "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans."Since declaring his candidacy, Gingrich has challenged the Massachusetts health care law, saying it was the "forerunner of Obamacare." However, the released memo will likely hurt the Gingrich campaign if it continues to assault Massachusetts health care law.
- Rick Santorum announced his plan to drop out of the Republican race if he comes in last place at the Iowa caucus. Speaking to Iowa talk show host Jan Mickelson on WHO radio Tuesday, Santorum said: "If I finish dead last behind the pack, I'm going to pack up and go home. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we're gonna be very much in the mix, and I feel very good that we're gonna surprise a lot of people on how we finish." Although Santorum said he is optimistic about his potential in Iowa, it is the first indication that the campaign recognizes his low polling numbers.
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