House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry won’t participate in Virginia’s March 6 Republican presidential primary ballot: both politicians failed to get the necessary number of votes, according to an announcement on a state Republican website Saturday.
“After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary,” the Republican Party of Virginia reported on Twitter.
Perry repeated the fate of Gingrich and now he is off the primary ballot. However, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are to be on the ballot.
Perry’s aide, Ray Sullivan, said in a statement that his campaign plans to carefully review Virginia state law to decide whether there is any possibility to challenge the parties decision.
“We will closely review the facts and law to determine whether an appeal or challenge is warranted” the statement says.
The deadline for collecting the voters’ signatures was Thursday at 5pm.
According to state rules, a candidate is to submit 10,000 signatures of registered Virginia voters, including at least 400 from each of the state’s 11 Congressional districts.
State GOP spokesman Garren Shipley revealed volunteers spent Friday validating petitions that the four candidates submitted to the State Board of Elections. Early Saturday Shipley was not ready to comment
However, failing to get on the ballot will be the main obstacle for Gingrich, who tried to use his recent increase in popularity to make up for a late organizing start. By the way, Gingrich had a slight lead over Romney in a Quinnipiac poll of Virginia Republicans that was released this week.
“Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender,” said Gingrich campaign director Michael Krull. “We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all of the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
Gingrich was reluctant to leave New Hampshire on Wednesday and go to Virginia, where he needed 10,000 valid voters’ signatures by Thursday to secure a spot on the March 6 ballot.
Wednesday Mr Gingrich claimed that he had gathered enough ballot signatures, but he wanted to come to Virginia to deliver them personally. His volunteers asked everybody to sign petitions before entering Gingrich’s rally Wednesday night in Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Washington.
So, as a result, Perry’s campaign had submitted 11,911 signatures, and Gingrich’s campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures.
Jerry Kilgore, former chairman of Perry’s campaign in Virginia, said he was dissatisfied with the results, but that qualifying for the Virginia ballot is a “daunting task.”
“Hopefully, he will do better in other states,’’ he said. “He can focus on other states.”
Meanwhile, it was unclear whether Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman submitted petitions to the state board.
As for President Barack Obama, Virginia’s Democrats said that his re-election campaign had got enough signatures to get him on the state’s primary ballot and he was the only candidate who qualified. [Via The Huff Post, The Washington Post and ABCNews]