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Yes, Virginia, there are only three Republican candidates (Update: 2 or 3?)(Final: Only 2)

Yes, Virginia, there are only three Republican candidates (Update: 2 or 3?)(Final: Only 2)

Almost hard to believe, but only Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have qualified for the Virginia Republican primary on Super Tuesday in March.

Virginia has onerous requirements of 10,000 signatures with at least 400 from each of 11 congressional districts.

Rick Perry, who was believed to have enough signatures, failed upon review.  Santorum, Bachmann and Hunstman did not have enough signatures by the deadline.

It was up to the wire for Gingrich, and for a time it looked like only Romney and Paul would be on the ballot.  Apparently there is no write-in line.

Gingrich leads Romney by 5 points in Virginia in the latest polling, so this was a big win for Gingrich to make the ballot.

Update 10:20 p.m. — The local newspaper website which reported an announcement by the Republican Party that Gingrich had qualified has just issued a correction.  Gingrich’s petitions still are being reviewed.

Update 12-24 — At about 2 a.m. it was announced that Newt fell short of the needed signatures, so as of now only Romney and Paul will be on the primary ballot.  That’s a major fail for Perry and Newt, but hurts Newt particularly badly.  Each candidate had over 1000 signatures rejected.  It shows that organization matters.  It also creates the oddity that Paul may win Virginia because Perry and Newt supporters will vote for him to deprive Romney of the win and delegates.


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huskers-for-palin | December 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Is this going to like ACORN in reverse? Boxes of signatures disappearing into someone’s car trunk?

Well, in 2008 I couldn’t vote for the candidate of my choice because almost all of them had dropped out of the race before the primary. Now, none of them bothered to get on the ballot in the first place. I wish the GOP establishment cared about something else other than rigging the primaries to get their candidate elected.

Constitution Party, here I come. At least they get on the ballot…

    Estragon in reply to WarEagle82. | December 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    The only thing the “establishment” did was ease up on the rules – which were already relaxed in 2010 to eliminate the requirement for last 4 digits of SSN (although still encouraged for ease of verification) – so if you collect the MINIMUM recommended number that EVERY candidate is warned to get AT LEAST this 15K because signature ARE closely scrutinized and must be accurate and valid.

    Alan Keyes made it in 2000, and Kucinich in 2008, under the older, more strict rules.

    Candidates had since July 1 to get the signatures. It is hardly the fault of “the establishment” that some candidates are worthless and incompetent.

      WarEagle82 in reply to Estragon. | December 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Right. The GOP establishment had nothing to do with pushing forward other primaries and the Iowa caucus to compress the primary schedule and suck up resources on non-establishment candidates.

      Why the rush? Why can’t we take our time and evaluate candidates? Perhaps the GOP establishment doesn’t want us to have time to do so?

      In 2002 I was a Republican conservative. By 2003 I was a conservative Republican. Now I am a Conservative. The continued gaming of the system to disenfranchise conservatives has worked. The GOP establishment is managing to run conservatives out of the party.

      Like I said, I hear them loud and clear and since I can’t vote for any of my preferred GOP candidates I’ll sit out the primary and vote Constitution Party in the general election. Way to build the base!

huskers-for-palin | December 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

Human Events reports that Newt qualified. Not sure if that was an up-to-date report?

StephenMonteith | December 24, 2011 at 12:49 am

It’s really not that onerous. Past primary participants have had no trouble getting on the ballot. Santorum and Bachmann have been focusing so much on Iowa and Huntsman on New Hampshire that they’ve neglected the other states. Perry, well, he’s got other problems. They all should have known the requirements well in advance and tended to it. 10,000 signatures isn’t that many.

According to people that the Politico talked to in Virginia it is unlikely that of the 11,050 that Gingrich submitted that the required 10,000 will be registered voters.

But those 11,050 are going to be matched against the the registered voter rolls and many are likely to be thrown out. And of the 10,000 valid signatures, at least 400 a piece must come from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. Given Gingrich’s admitted last-minute “scramble” to get on the ballot — using paid contractors instead of volunteers — it’s likely that he’ll have quite a few signatures thrown out.

“There’s no way that a candidate who submitted fewer than 12K signatures will be left with the 10K statutory minimum,” wrote one veteran Virginia GOP operative not involved in the race.

    I’d take the statement by the “veteran Virginia GOP operative” with a VERY large boulder of salt. There may be some undisclosed sour grapes there due to the “establishment choice” candidate already being on the ballot. Or, he just might not be up on “best practices” for getting valid signatures.

    Even scrambling, if the targeting was done properly (i.e. the people collecting signatures already HAD registered voter rolls to have signed) the collection of the signatures could be accomplished very quickly with a minimum of lost signatures. It kind of depends on if it was done with a political consulting service, or if he just hired “head-hunters” to go out and stand at the mall. If it was properly targeted, you could probably get enough signatures on a single Saturday with 200 or so people (200 people, with 75-100 or so addresses of registered voters each). Knock on door, request signature, if declined or no answer, move on. Pick populated, dense areas with lots of houses per street. At 5 minutes per house average (including walking time), it would take about 8 hours and 20 minutes.

    This is actually not that difficult to do once you set up the system once. It just becomes a matter of force-feeding the system the voter data. At one point during a campaign I was working, I had a mapping system set up to the point where I could determine Republican registered voter density by VOTING precinct in a city, and then mapped the high density ones by house, gave those maps and pre-planned walking routes to the volunteers and told them go knock on doors to drum up support and get personal interaction with the voters.

    Now, I have no information that it actually was done correctly, but I’m sure we’re going to find out shortly.

RNC pdf on delegate selection procedure State by State.

If there are only two on the Virginia ballot then according to the rules in the pdf Virginia becomes basically a “winner take all” State though nominally it is proportional.

DINORightMarie | December 24, 2011 at 6:22 am

I am surprised Newt had such a last-minute crush; on his Facebook site, and in his emails, he said he had the 10,000 necessary signatures, thanks to his volunteers, BEFORE his Arlington meet-and-greet and his Richmond events.

He called for volunteers to gather signatures late in the game. I hope this sets his campaign staff on fire to make sure this doesn’t happen in any other states – and to get the ground game going NOW!

Too much focus on Iowa and the first 4 primaries can kill a candidate with a small budget and skeleton staff. But, with organization and coordination, it can be done.

Newt, set a fire in the bellies of your campaign staff!! (And, I hope you qualify – I want to be able to vote for you on our primary ballot in VA, especially since my only other choices are Romney and Paul…….)

Newt didn’t make it.

There’s no way to spin this as other than an organizational fail. That’s some choice VA Republicans have been left with. Damn.

I we going to find ourselves a la 2008 having a candidate that we loathe to vote for?

NO I don’t mean Romney, I mean Paul.

Romney makes me nervous but Paul makes me want to puke.

His every word or deed certifies him to be far out of the mainstream of the American People. Like McCain.

McCain only got as many votes as he did because he WAS the lesser of two evils. We all KNEW what Obama was all about. (We just didn’t know how bad it would be.)

Paul on the other hand has opinions that are so repugnant so anti-American and that are beyond consideration as a viable blueprint for an American recovery that Conservatives will just stay home.

I won’t vote for this senile, sniveling coward.

(In anticipation of the passage of the SOPA: the preceeding remarks were the opinion of the commenter and are not to be taken as being agreed to by the blog/blog owner Legal Insurrection/william jacobson.)

DINORightMarie | December 24, 2011 at 8:19 am

Virginia is an open primary. If enough people want to, they can go in and vote for Paul, whether Democrat, Republican or any/no party affiliation.

Paul could easily take all the 49 delegates in VA. *groan* What a joke.

I hope there is an appeal process. Even though there is an announced date, having it right before the Iowa caucus and at Christmas is asking for people to not be able to get on the ticket, IMHO. Republicans need to either admit they botched the date requirement, or allow an extension to all who did not make it. All IMHO, of course.

But, a silver lining – I believe there is a write-in option on the ballot. 😀

Are we going to find ourselves a la 2008 as having a candidate that we loathe to vote for?

NO I don’t mean Romney, I mean Paul.

Romney makes me nervous but Paul makes me want to puke.

His every word or deed certifies him to be far out of the mainstream of the American People. Like McCain.

McCain only got as many votes as he did because he WAS the lesser of two evils. We all KNEW what Obama was all about. (We just didn’t know how bad it would be.)

Paul on the other hand has opinions that are so repugnant so anti-American and that are beyond consideration as a viable blueprint for an American recovery that Conservatives will just stay home.

I won’t vote for this senile, sniveling coward.

(In anticipation of the passage of the SOPA: the preceding remarks were the opinion of the commenter and are not to be taken as being agreed to by the blog/blog owner Legal Insurrection/william jacobson.)

I apologize for the double comment. As most will know, you CAN go back to the screen that was up before submitting a comment.

I wanted to see if it acted as editing a submitted comment.

NO. It doesn’t.

Well, I guess this is what you get when too many states are itching to schedule their primaries early. And, if the current slate holds and Va. doesn’t have a full complement of candidates, this could be ammo for those who might try for a brokered convention.

This is an inexcusable sin on the part of whomever is running Gingrich’s Virginia campaign, and whomever it is should be loudly and publically fired for it by Gingrich PERSONALLY so that no future Republican candidate gets sandbagged by them in the future. As I said above, this isn’t that difficult to do with a little organization, which SHOULD have already been built by whomever is running Gingrich’s Virginia campaign.

Patterico’s Pontifications has it right: This debacle will very definitely damage the brand of the Republican Party of Virgina, as turnout will likely be depressed, and Virginia will fall in relevance to other states on the ballot for Super-Tuesday, because they’ll say “well, it isn’t a fair reading of the will of the people because some of the big candidates were missing.”

The TEA Partiers will see the nominating contest as one between a RINO and a Loony-Tune, and my guess (from today) is that Paul wins due to extremely low and highly liberal turnout in the open primary structure, because Romney’s supporters will now take the state for granted rather than waste campaign resources there, expecting Paul to flame-out everywhere else.

Well, the GOP has managed to screw with the primaries enough to make them completely irrelevant. We “little people” don’t matter and we should learn to elect the candidate they push down our throats…

    Unless you care to show that the GOP burned pages of Gingrich’s signatures, please be quiet. Its not their fault that Gingrich had 5 and a half months in his home state to collect the needed signatures.

      WarEagle82 in reply to Zaggs. | December 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Who are you to tell me I can’t voice my opinion? Ironically, that seems to be the same message the GOP establishment has been telling the TEA Party for over a year. I have heard it loud and clear and since I CAN’T vote for a candidate I like in the Virginia Primary I’ll sit it out and vote elsewhere in the general election…

      The GOP establishment does not want to hear my voice and they continue to game the system to disenfranchise conservatives like me. Good job building the base!

        Zaggs has it right, except for the keep quiet part. Newt screwed himself. Blaming the “establishment” smacks of Obama and the democrats blaming Bush for everything.

          It seems zaggs may be wrong in light of retire05’s post below. Perhaps the RPV subscribes to the theory that all candidates are equal but some candidates are more equal but some candidates are more equal that others.
          That being said, this shows there are only 4 legitimate contenders for the GOP nomination. By not submitting any signatures, it is time that Santorum, Bachmann, and Huntsman withdraw from the race. They are wasting our time.

          One other recommendation for the GOP; stop these open primaries. Only the members of the GOP need to nominate a candidate for POTUS. To make them open is to create too much temptation for non-GOP/conservatives to create havoc.

So Gingrich, with 5 and a half months, could not muster enough signatures in the same state that had Alan Keyes on the ballot in 2000 and Dennis Kucinich in 2008. This is his home state for crying out loud. People think he can handle being President?
Yes this is a Gingrich uber-fail. Stop blaming the state or the state GOP. This is Gingrich’s HOME STATE. If he doesn’t know the election rules (both of signatures and write ins) of the state he has been residing in for 12 years he doesn’t deserve to be President.

It wasn’t just Perry and Gingrich that failed to get enough signatures; apparently Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum didn’t even bother with the state.

People are going to be saying, “Seriously? Out of all the candidates, ONLY Romney and Paul were eligible to get on the ballot in Virginia?”

This is on top of the news that some states decided to hold their primaries earlier this year. If Romney wins the nomination and he’s perceived to have won more from benefiting from procedural stuff like this, rather than because voters were actually able to choose him over the other candidates, then how much support for him do you think he’s going to have in the general election?

There are times when I wonder if the GOP isn’t testing our “anyone but Obama” resolve by trying to figure out how much they can insult and frustrate and infuriate us before our disgust with the GOP establishment begins to outweigh our disgust with Obama.

    Estragon in reply to Aitch748. | December 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Santorum and Bachmann did “bother with the state” but there is no point in turning in less than 10,000 signatures. As was stated earlier, if you don’t get at least close to 15K it is very hard to qualify, which is why the MINIMUM recommended by the state and the party is 15K with 20K suggested.

      spartan in reply to Estragon. | December 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Actually the RPV rule is 10,000 (with 400 from each district) gets scrutiny. If the candidate gets 15,000 signatures (with 600 from each district), there is no scrutiny. Thus, had Gingrich and/or Perry submitted 4,000 bogus names to reach 15,000, there would be no scrutiny.

      Ergo, the RPV wants to close the process to some candidates but open the voting for everyone. And you wonder why the GOP is clueless ……

Oh well, the wheat just got separated from the chaff.

There are the vanity candidates, and then there are people willing to do what it takes to become the GOP nominee. Sorta.

Organization, discipline and coherence (competence) are qualities of leadership that still matter, regardless of whether the candidate is “likable” or not.

A man with a weak political army cannot become President. That’s the nature of the beast.

Perry’s vaunted national organization is apparently as over-hyped as he was before he entered the race. Too bad, he was the last hope for a viable conservative alternative to Romney.

Gingrich, like Cain, was never a serious candidate. They entered to promote book sales and speaking fees via debate exposure. Free advertising. Neither expected to be a contender and neither was prepared. Just as well since neither is remotely qualified for the Presidency anyway.

    ROTFLMAO. Newt’s team deserted him earlier this year and went to the Perry camp. So, if his team had remained, he still wouldn’t be on the Virginia primary ballot.
    Maybe Newt should subpoena several Supreme Court justices for an explanation. Another great idea.

Can Virginia primary voters write in their candidate?

I don’t know how anyone can support a candidate who can’t even get on the ballot in his own state. Newt should drop out of the race. This is a shame.

Also, what kind of candidate doesn’t know the law in VA. You can’t write-in during primaries. Yet, Newt is going to run a write-in campaign.


Everyone here knows that I am not supporting Newt, but come on’ guys, no one here is getting cheated except the voters of Virginia. This whole process of “petitions” is aburd. If Newt, Bachmann or any of the candidates have support in Virginia they should be allowed on the primary ballot. Isn’t that what primaries are all about?

Now, I could point out some very shady things that went on (like Ron Paul not meeting the 15K signature threshold but being certified before his signatures were verified, which they were not) and Bill Bollings actually filing for Mitt and running Mitt’s campaign out of his own campaign headquarters, but that is important only in the respect that the Virginia voters are being cheated out of having the candidates actually bid for their vote up until the primary.

Is this what you want? To see candidates thrown off the primaries just so your guy can win?

I don’t but I do feel sorry for those Newt/Perry supporters who, in my view, just got disenfrancised by a corrupt state GOP.

    spartan in reply to retire05. | December 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I wondered whether they scrutinized every signature from all of the candidates. It appears VA is giving America a Morton’s Fork or a middle finger.

StephenMonteith | December 26, 2011 at 1:38 am

Why is it so hard for Gingrich to admit he made a mistake? He claimed that cheating on his wives was a mistake. He claimed that sitting on the couch with Pelosi was a mistake. He claimed that badmouthing Paul Ryan was a mistake. He was able to “apologize” for each of those “mistakes”; why can’t he just do the same this time instead of scapegoating a process which has not stood in the way of any major candidate who has actually put in the work? In 2008, before either Romney or Paul had built up anywhere near the organization or bases they have today, they both still managed to get on the ballot; along with a dozen other Democratic and Republican candidates. Gingrich failed to do something that Dennis Kucinich managed to do. Why can’t he just admit he made a mistake by waiting so long to get in the game?