Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry have failed to qualify for Virginia's Republican primary. The two presidential runners failed to meet the requirements to participate in the presidential primary election in Virginia.
According to Reuters, Gingrich made the Thursday deadline for submitting his petitions, but on Saturday the state party said that the review process had confirmed that he did not have the required 10,000 verifiable signatures. According to the announcement by the Republican Party of Virginia on its Twitter site early on Saturday: "After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10K signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary."
Only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul qualified. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum did not meet the Thursday deadline for submitting petitions.
According to CBS, Texas Governor Rick Perry also did not submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters required for a candidate's name to appear on the primary ballot.
CBS reports Gingrich left New Hampshire on Wednesday for Virginia to get the signatures and that he had said he had enough signatures to qualify. The New York Times also reports that Newt Gingrich had said he already had 10,000 signatures with an extra 2,000 to 3,000 and that he was collecting more. According to The New York Times, some of the signatures Gingrich collected were apparently invalid.
Reuters notes that Virginia regulations also require that the 10,000 registered voters must include 400 signature from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.
The New York Times comments that Gingrich's failure to collect enough signatures in his adopted home state creates an enormous credibility problem for him and raises questions about his organizational capabilities. According to Larry J. Sabato, political scientist at the University of Virginia: “It’s a disaster for him. This sends yet another signal to Republicans that Gingrich is not able to organize.”
But Michael Krull, Gingrich's campaign director, has reacted, saying: "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."
Reuters notes, however, that the Virginia Code Section 24.2-644(C) disallows write-ins where it reads: "At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person's name on the official ballot."
Should the rules be changed for Gingrich?