Here’s a little bit of post-Christmas schadenfreude to get you to New Year’s weekend: Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have failed to qualify for Virginia’s Republican primary on March 6.
The state of Virginia requires candidates to submit 10,000 signatures from registered voters—including at least 400 form each congressional district—by Thursday, December 22, at 5pm.
“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 announced early Saturday via Twitter.
Gingrich’s campaign attacked Virginia’s primary system on Saturday, saying that “only a failed system” would disqualify Gingrich and other candidates and vowing to run a write-in campaign.
“Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates,” Gingrich campaign director Michael Krull said in a statement. “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.”
Unfortunately, Newt, Virginia election laws don’t allow for write-in votes in primaries.
Gingrich has taken the lead over Mitt Romney in some polls but this misstep is a real embarrassment for the former Speaker of the House: Virginia has been Gingrich’s home state since he left Congress in 1999.
The candidate claimed he had enough signatures but wanted to present them in person. Is that politician-speak for “The dog ate my homework?”
Virginia’s unique election laws also tripped up Rick Perry‘s campaign team, who called the omission an “isolated situation” in a statement to the press:
“We will closely review the facts and law to determine whether an appeal or challenge is warranted… Governor Perry has the utmost respect for the strong place Virginia holds in our nation’s economic and military strength and in American history. He will continue to work hard to build strong support in Virginia and earn the trust of conservative-minded voters there.”
Romney and Ron Paul did present enough signatures to get on the Virginia primary ballot, but MSNBC reports it remains unclear if Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum made the deadline.
Images via Gage Skidmore