[Posted by Karl]
In the lexicon of Rick Perry, “Oops!”
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 Virginia Republican familiar with the situation said that the Texas governor did not submit the required 10,000.
They have not examined Gingrich’s signatures yet, but expected to do so by late Friday night.
Candidates had until 5 p.m. to collect 10,000 signatures from across the state, including 400 from each congressional district.
Things may not be looking much better for Newt, who submitted only 11,050 signatures. Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum failed to submit any signatures, potentially leaving this as a Mitt Romney vs Ron Paul matchup. Do we all get to point and laugh at those who claim organization doesn’t matter any more? The practical effect, as GOP fundraiser/consultant Nathan Wurtzel notes, is that the Virginia primary will drop in relevance relative to other contests that day, which will not help GOP efforts to win this swing state in the general election.
Update: The issues in qualifying for the Virginia ballot are well-known. Via Philip Klein’s Twitter feed, Stacy Cline notes that in 2007, “the Giuliani campaign had a full-time lawyer devoted almost entirely to qualifying for the VA ballot” and Team Rudy spent an entire weekend checking to make sute they had enough signatures from each district. Virginia GOP officials tell John McCormack there is not a write-in line on the ballot. Klein will be shocked if Newt qualifies.
Update 2: Looks like Newt’s in, making Perry look even worse.
Update 3: Patterico commenter SarahW tweets that she got a robocall to come down and sign a petition… on the day before the robocall. Oops.
Update 4: Newt Gingrich has also been DQed from the VA primary. He promises an aggressive write-in campaign. It may also be futile, if John McCormack’s source was correct — and, given the circumstances, we might credit some anonymous state party official over Gingrich until definitively proven otherwise.
Update 5: Yep, looks like there’s no write-in for Virginia primaries. IIRC, the GOP has minimal control over the state legislature… could they amend the law to allow write-ins? I do not even know if the legislature is in session, but I would think there could be discussion, as it would benefit the state and national party to have a more competitive primary. (I presume the fear is that in a year like this, Dems could flood the GOP primary for Obama.)