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Virginia Primary Ballots Won’t Include Huntsman, Bachmann, or Santorum

No matter how the primaries are going in early March, by the time Virginia casts its ballots on March 6, the choices will be limited to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul… at most.  That’s because the campaigns of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman didn’t submit enough petition signatures by yesterday’s deadline to earn ballot space.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a minimum of “10,000 registered voters, with 400 from each of the 11 Congressional districts,” must sign the petitions. 

But wait, there’s more!  “The state GOP decided that candidates who submit at least 15,000 signatures of registered voters on valid petitions with at least 600 signatures from each of the 11 districts will be deemed to have met the qualifications” for party certification, which must be delivered by next Tuesday at 5:00 PM.

At the moment, it appears only Mitt Romney actually cleared the party certification threshold.  Paul only turned in 14,361 signatures, Perry submitted 11,911, and Gingrich 11,050.

I gather certification is up to the party, which probably imagined itself spending the weekend weeding out suspicious petition signatures (Merry Christmas, guys!) but will now have to decide if it wants to stick with its declared standards, and leave Virginia voters faced with a choice between Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney. 

I gather write-ins are allowed, but it’s obviously a heck of an advantage to be the only candidate actually listed on the ballot.  If someone else managed to win Virginia despite this handicap, it would be epic.  The most recent Quinnipiac poll actually had Newt Gingrich leading Romney in the state, 30% to 25%.

John McCain pulled 1.7 million votes in Virginia in 2008, so ten or fifteen thousand signatures to gain ballot access for the 2012 Republican primary doesn’t seem like a terribly difficult hurdle to clear, provided campaigns have the money, manpower, and focus to get those petitions circulated.  The lightning of campaign news flickers in the media stratosphere, high above the fruited plain, but elections are won and lost on the ground, state by state.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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