GOP primaries

Gingrich, Perry fail to make Va. primary ballot

The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday morning over Twitter that “After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not
submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA

The RPV released the same tweet about Rick Perry on Friday night.

Candidates were required to submit 10,000 signatures by Thursday at 5 p.m. to qualify for Virginia’s “Super Tuesday” March 6 GOP primary.

{mosads}Newt Gingrich was campaigning in New Hampshire earlier this week, but left suddenly for Virginia in a last-minute effort to collect signatures.

The Gingrich campaign responded on Saturday by calling Virginia’s primary process a “failed system” because it is excluding four of the six candidates who sought ballot access in the state.

“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,” said campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond. “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.”

However, according to a Reuters report, the Virginia Code does not permit write-in candidates for primary elections.

“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,” the code says.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman all failed to submit the required paperwork by Virginia’s deadline. President Obama’s reelection team filed his paperwork to be on the Democratic primary ballot earlier this month.

According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, Gingrich leads the GOP field in Virginia with 30 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 25 percent. In a head-to-head match-up between the two, Gingrich leads Romney 47 percent to 39 percent.

Perry is only at 6 percent in Virginia.

With his late surge in the polls, the Gingrich campaign has been scrambling to put together the infrastructure necessary to handle the kind of back-office operations that are required of a top-tier national candidate.

Ron Paul and Romney, both of whom have run national campaigns before, and who are considered, along with Gingrich, as the other two top-tier GOP candidates, both qualified for the Virginia primary.

A lack of organization already helped sink another surprise candidate, businessman Herman Cain, who never recovered after his campaign failed to put together a strategy to deal with the allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity that surfaced against the candidate.

Even though Gingrich leads some polls in Iowa, many are speculating that he will underperform in the Hawkeye State. Traditional wisdom says a strong ground game is required to turn out voters for the caucus-style election, and Gingrich only set up a campaign office in Iowa this month.

—This story was first posted at 9:58 a.m. and has been updated.

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