Virginia GOP primary rules: too tough or just right?

Paula Duffy's picture

When Newt Gingrich went ballistic about his failure to qualify for the Virginia GOP primary, he blamed the rules, instead of his staff.

The Virginia GOP primary is set for March 6 and Republicans in the state will not be able to vote for Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum.

Virginia's GOP primary voters will be able to choose between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul

Seemingly reasonable rules have prevented the other five from qualifying to be on the ballot. Candidates seeking inclusion on the ballot in the primary are required to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters, with 400 from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.

ABC News reported that Gingrich joined the disgruntled candidate club early Saturday, leaving him on the outside looking in. His spokesman issued the following statement on the subject:

"Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates. We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice."

As ABC noted, the efforts will have to be beyond the level of "aggressive", because the Virginia primary rules do not allow write-in ballots.

There are only a couple of plausible explanations for the failure of major national candidates to follow the rules for something as important as this. When candidates' staffs fail them on this level, either money is tight or the right people are not in charge.

For Gingrich, the issue can be attributed to the swiftness of his rise to the top of the heap in the GOP field, without the ability to catch up, according to Politico.

Gingrich's "...campaign had been scrambling to gather the necessary signatures and who has not managed to develop the organization to match a momentum burst he had a few weeks ago."

As for Perry, who got his bad news only the day prior to Gingrich he is not lashing out about the unfairness of the system. Instead his spokesman stressed his respect for Virginia's primary rules and his candidate's inclusion on other states' ballots.

"Gov Perry has the utmost respect for the strong place Virginia holds in our nation's economic and military strength and in American history He will continue to work hard to build strong support in Virginia and earn the trust of conservative-minded voters there."

The Virginia GOP is unapologetic and matter of fact about it all, understanding full well their state's resulting lack of importance to the candidates.

Add new comment