Gingrich Won’t Be on Virginia Ballot, Either, Leaving Romney and Paul

Newt Gingrich joins Rick Perry in having had his application to be on the Virginia Republican primary ballot disqualified. That leaves Mitt Romney and Ron Paul as the only candidates on the ballot.

Newt Gingrich joins Rick Perry in having had his application to be on the Virginia Republican primary ballot disqualified. That leaves Mitt Romney and Ron Paul as the only candidates on the ballot.

CNN (“Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for GOP primary ballot in Virginia“):

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to collect enough signatures to appear on the Virginia primary ballot, the Republican Party of Virginia announced Saturday morning.

Gingrich, as well as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, did not meet the state’s requirement of 10,000 signatures and, therefore, did not qualify for the ballot, the Virginia GOP said via Twitter. The state GOP announced Perry’s failure to qualify late Friday.

Gingrich and Perry were among four candidates who submitted ballot petitions to the Virginia State Board of Elections on Thursday, which was the deadline to file. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul also submitted petitions.

The state party spent Friday verifying that the submitted petitions met the requirements to appear on the ballot. The Virginia GOP said on its Twitter page Friday that Romney and Paul had both submitted enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Virginia requires candidates to submit petitions with 10,000 signatures from registered Virginia voters. Additionally, 400 signatures must come from voters in each of the state’s eleven congressional districts.

As I noted yesterday, I find the whole state-by-state qualification process for what is for all practical purposes a national election silly. Virginia’s requirements, in particular, seem rather onerous, especially when combined with an absurdly early deadline. Surely, it doesn’t take 10 weeks to print a ballot?

Aside from the impact on the excluded candidates, the consequence of this system is that the Commonwealth’s voters will have their choices greatly diminished. This strikes me as a poor result–and I say that as someone who expects to vote for Romney, whose own fortunes here are greatly enhanced by this outcome.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? More than likely both Gingrich and Perry will have dropped out of running for president before the Virginia election.

    If one is going to worry about the lack of choices for voters, imagine how politics will be in the coming one party state. The Presidential election will occur in the Democratic primary and could realistically be limited to the first few primary states before there is an apparent winner. If someone like Andrew Cuomo wins both Iowa and New Hampshire in 2016, everyone will know who will be the next president almost a full year before the inauguration.

  2. gawaine says:

    The way I look at it, no matter how hard it is to get on the ballot for a primary, it’s easier than actually getting elected president. If you can’t get enough organization ready to gather a paltry 10K signatures now, how will you have enough to drum up many more voters later? This is a dry run for that effort, making sure you have your ground team in place to start the work that needs to happen over the next year.

    My wife is on the board of a club that is associated with the Republican Party in Virginia. They’re only allowed to work with local and state members directly as a club, but it generally means we’re on everyone’s mailing lists, at least. If Gingerich or Perry wanted more signatures, I would have thought they would have started trying there. I might have been willing to sign for one of them – even though I’m resigned to voting for Romney as the least worst choice. But no calls, knocks on the door, or literature, so nothing from me.

  3. Well, this story isn’t over yet, we still have the third act.

    In a week or so, the Virginia State government will decide that in the interests of the public, the ballot access rules will be waved for Perry and Gingrich.

    Because these laws are really only in place to hamper the third party candidates, so while they’re always expected to follow them to the exact letter, whenever they end up accidentally hurting one of the major parties they always end up getting mysteriously waved.

  4. Lgbpop says:

    I couldn’t disagree more about the author’s assertion about this being a national election. It’s a collection of state elections that elect the president, and the political parties are free to do as they wish.

  5. Peter says:

    “That leaves Mitt Romney and Ron Paul as the only candidates on the ballot.”

    And by the time we get to the VA primaries Paul will have had ample time to crash, or be crashed, leaving only Romney on the ballot.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @Lgbpop: I said “for all practical purposes.” Yes, as a matter of political science, it’s a series of state contests institutionally and structurally. As a matter of practical politics, though, it’s an election to decide who will run the country.

    In 1787, when the current Constitution was drafted, the 13 states were truly sovereign entities banded together for foreign policy and commerce–essentially where the EU is today. Since the Civil War–and certainly since the Great Depression–we have become a single nation with 50 localities that are autonomous only over a set of local issues. And, even there, federal oversight is possible over almost all of those issues.

  7. Out of interest I went back and looked at recent contested Republican primaries in Virginia:

    In 1988, the following people were on the ballot — Bush 41, Bob Dole, Pat Robertson, Jack Kemp, Pete DuPont

    In 1996, Virginia held a caucus so there was no primary ballot

    In 2000, it was — Bush 43, McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer

    In 2008, it was — McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Thompson and Giuliani.

    Virginia requirements are tough, but not impossible to meet by a well organized campaign. Even “fringe” candidates like Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer managed to make it on the ballot, along with weaker candidates like Pete DuPont, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.

    And no, there have been no significant changes to ballot access laws during this period

    I blame this mostly on disorganized campaigns, which is even more shocking in Perry’s case since the head of his Virginia campaign is Jerry Kilgore, a former Virginia Attorney General and 2005 candidate for Governor.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the consequence of this system is that the Commonwealth’s voters will have their choices greatly diminished.

    I view this as a feature, not a bug, in that the crazification factor has been decidedly reduced. Also, anyone who could not find the time or the organization to gather 10,000 signatures, really is beside the point.

  9. James H says:

    n the coming one party state

    Is it an all-night party? will it have an open bar?

  10. @Doug Mataconis: Doug, there was a change in 1998 that made it easier. Instead of candidates required to get one half of one percent of the number of registered in January of the year the petition was due, it was changed to a flat 10,000 with 400 per district.

    If that rule was still in place, candidates this time around would be required to get 25,271 signatures.

  11. @Timothy Watson:

    Okay. So this just makes the failure even more spectacular, doesn’t it?

  12. PJ says:

    The Democrats must be really happy about this.

    Romney is only getting 15-25% in the Virgina primary polls (There’s one where he got 44%, but that looks like an outlier), and the candidate who is currently leading won’t be on the primary ballot.

    Now, it’s rather obvious that this is the fault of Gingrich’s campaign, but the question is how Republican primary voters who want to vote for a not-Romney is going to perceive all this and if not being able to vote for their candidate in the primary will make them more willing to vote for Romney in the general election…

    So, I’m guessing what Stormy Dragon wrote will come true, the rules will be waved. Cause I doubt the Republicans will do something this stupid in a swing state.

  13. ponce says:

    Delicious irony for such a vocal proponent of racist picture ID voting requirements.