(Corrects spelling of Michele in first paragraph of story published yesterday.)
Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum said they will join Texas Governor Rick Perry in his lawsuit seeking to be placed on Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot.
Only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas met Virginia’s petition requirements to earn a place on the ballot. The state’s Republican Party said Dec. 24 that Perry and Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, failed to get proper signatures from 10,000 registered voters as required.
In a joint letter today to Virginia’s Board of Elections and Republican Party, lawyers for Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum said they will file a motion to intervene in Perry’s legal challenge in Richmond federal court. On Dec. 29, a U.S. judge declined to stop the printing of ballots before the next hearing in Perry’s case, scheduled for Jan. 13. He didn’t rule on the merits of Perry’s challenge.
“This should not be a gauntlet to figure out how you can make it virtually impossible to run for president,” Gingrich said today at a campaign stop in Atlantic, Iowa. “This ought to be a system that enables the voters to decide who they would like to have run for president.”
The four Republicans urged the election board either to take no action until Jan. 13 or to add them to the ballot, ending the legal challenge “and avoiding unnecessary costs and expenses to the state and the parties.”
The letter was signed by J. Christian Adams, counsel to Bachmann; Stefan C. Passantino, counsel to Gingrich; Craig Engle, counsel to Huntsman; and Cleta Mitchell, counsel to Santorum.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he will seek to intervene in the Perry lawsuit and propose legislation that would allow most Republican presidential candidates to be named on his state’s primary ballot, according to Fox News.
In a separate state court lawsuit, a Virginia lawyer this month sued the Board of Elections and Republican Party to get Gingrich’s name on the ballot. In Iowa today, Gingrich said he hopes the state legislature finds a solution to put everyone on the ballot.
“The challenge in Virginia isn’t about the candidates, it’s about the voters,” he said.
The Perry case is Perry v. Judd, 11-00856, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond); The Gingrich case is Moseley v. Virginia State Board of Elections, Circuit Court of Richmond County.
--With assistance from Laurence Arnold and Michael A. Riley in Washington, Bonnie V. Winston in Richmond federal court and Sophia Pearson in Wilmington, Delaware. Editor: David E. Rovella
To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Atlantic, Iowa, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at email@example.com