Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich Disqualified from the Virginia Primary Ballot? (Update: Perry Camp May Contest Decision) Update: Gingrich Off the Ballot
Multiple sources including the Washington Post say so:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry failed to submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, state GOP officials said Friday evening.
Perry’s campaign told state election officials it had submitted 11,911 signatures, but a Republican source familiar with the situation said that the Texas governor did not submit the required 10,000.
Earlier Friday, the Republican Party of Virginia certified former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) to appear on the March ballot.
Four candidates — Romney, Perry, Paul and former House speaker Newt Gingrich — turned in thousands of signatures by the deadline Thursday.
State party officials are spending Friday certifying the signatures. They have not examined Gingrich’s signatures yet, but expected to do so by late Friday night. His campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures.
Gingrich may also have failed to turn in enough signatures to get on the ballot. Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman all failed to qualify as well, leaving just Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on the Virginia ballot. The commonwealth's primary takes place on Super Tuesday, March 6, and 49 delegates are up for grabs.
If the blame game gets underway, Perry's campaign has had VA's former attorney general, Jerry Kilgore, as its state chairman. This quote, from the WaPo story linked above, is not heartening.
Update, 6:30 p.m.: Jerry Kilgore, former attorney general and chairman of Perry’s campaign in Virginia, said in an interview Friday night he did not know how many signatures were submitted. He said he was disappointed, but that qualifying for the Virginia ballot is a “daunting task.”
“Hopefully, he will do better in other states,’’ he said. “He can focus on other states.”
Emphasis added. Kilgore signed onto the job at the beginning of November, leaving nearly two full months to get the candidate on the ballot in his state.
Update: The campaign says there may be a fight --
Despite aggressive efforts collecting thousands of Virginia signatures after Governor Perry's mid-August entry into the race, we were notified this evening of apparently falling short of the 10,000 voter signatures needed to qualify. We will closely review the facts and law to determine whether an appeal or challenge is warranted.
This is an isolated situation and does not impact Governor Perry qualifying for the ballot in every other state.
Gov 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.
Update: Newt Gingrich, currently leading in polls of the Virginia electorate, is also off the Virginia primary ballot. As things stand, just Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have qualified for the March 6 Virginia primary.