Newt Gingrich’s campaign director said the presidential candidate is viewing the setback in Virginia, in which he failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the state’s primary, as an “unexpected setback” similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941,” campaign director Michael Krull wrote on the Gingrich Facebook page. “We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days — but in the end we will stand victorious.”
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, and early Saturday morning the Republican Party of Virginia announced that Gingrich did not qualify, an embarrassing blow to his candidacy.
The Gingrich campaign responded by calling Virginia’s primary process a “failed system” because it is excluding four of the seven candidates who sought ballot access in the state.
In the Facebook post, Krull continued to blame the “cumbersome” process in Virginia for the campaign’s failure to make the ballot.
The campaign initially said it would aggressively pursue a write-in campaign; however, the Virginia state code does not permit write-in candidates in a primary election.
“We are exploring alternate methods to compete in Virginia — stay tuned,” Krull wrote. “Going forward, we will be as in-front of the process as possible and with the help of our grassroots volunteers we will make all other deadlines."
Krull reminded supporters that this was not the first time the campaign has had to pick itself up off the mat.
“Newt and I have talked three or four times today and he stated that this is not catastrophic — we will continue to learn and grow,” he wrote. “Remember that it was only a few months ago that pundits and the press declared us dead after the paid consultants left. They declared that the decision not to compete in the Ames Straw Poll would mean that Iowans would ignore us. Some will again state that this is fatal.”
Gingrich’s surprise late rise in the polls exposed a lack of campaign infrastructure that will make it difficult for the candidate to compete with other top-tier candidates, like Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, in fundraising and voter turnout for some of the caucus-style elections.
Paul and Romney are the only candidates that qualified for the Virginia primary.