As a general rule, if you’re running for office, you should take the necessary steps to actually appear on the ballot. Just saying.
The Republican Party of Virginia has announced that former-Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA 6th) and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) have both failed to meet the requirements to appear on the ballot for the Republican Party primary in Virginia. Now, I know that Virginia is no California, Florida, or New York. But we’re no Alaska or Rhode Island either. We do count for something in Presidential politics, and it’s kind-of important to engage—at least a bit—in Virginia if you intend to be president. Failing to get on our primary ballot is a pretty stupid way to start.
In Virginia you have to submit a petition with 10,000 signatures, including at least 400 from each of our eleven Congressional districts, to appear on our presidential primary ballots. These requirements are a bit more stringent then those in many other states, but they’re not exactly unreasonable for top-tier major-party candidates. Gingrich in particular, who has emerged as a front-runner for the Republican nomination and lives in Virginia, was just recently talking about how petition efforts here were going to “showcase the campaign’s ground game,” and that they had obtained 12,000 to 14,000 signatures.
Well now that we know he fell short (possibly because of the ‘400 from each district’ requirement), the Gingrich campaign has changed its tune and says that the process for obtaining ballot access in Virginia is a “failed system.” Funny, it seemed to work fine for former-Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Representative Ron Paul (R-TX 14th). “Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates,” 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 the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
Yes, the voters do deserve the right to vote for any top contender . . . if that contender bothers to meet the requirements to appear on the ballot as stipulated by Virginia law. As for that write-in campaign, well, good luck with that. It will be difficult since Virginia law prohibits write-ins on primary ballots. Sure, you could write Gingrich in on the margin or something, but it won’t be counted as a valid vote.
Next time, Messrs. Perry and Gingrich, you might want to put in a little more effort here in the Commonwealth. Epic fail, guys.