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. The state requires candidates to obtain 10,000 signatures from registered voters in the state, including at least 400 from each of 11 congressional districts.
One of the casualties was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is particularly upset because he lives in northern Virginia.
Gingrich said his campaign's failure to qualify was a result of fraud. "We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud,” CNN quoted Gingrich as saying last week.
On Saturday, Gingrich, along with other candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman, joined the lawsuit that Rick Perry already had filed against Virginia's Board of Elections. Attorneys representing the additional candidates sent a letter to the chairman of Virginia's Republican Party on Saturday. The letter asks that the candidates' names be added to the ballot,
"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."
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