Is the Fix In? Virginia GOP Eliminates 4 of Top 6 Republican Candidates From Republican Primary …Update: VA Law Was Changed in October

Following Governor Chris Christie’s announcement in early October that he would not be running for president, top GOP official and bundler, Georgette Mosbacher told reporters, “We do not consider Perry a factor… We know who will be our nominee.”
Georgette was talking about Mitt “McRomneycare” Romney, of course.

Georgette Mosbacher. HarvardCPL, via flickr (Capital NY)

Maybe Georgette wasn’t kidding. The Virginia GOP effectively eliminated 4 of the top 6 candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, from qualifying for the Republican primary in March this past weekend. Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be on the Virginia GOP primary ballot.

Charles C. Johnson at Big Government today discussed how difficult it was for candidates to qualify for the primary in Virginia.

Candidates are required not only to collect over 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot but have to have at least 400 from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts. Both Perry and Gingrich cleared the first hurdle by at least a thousand signatures, but it appears they may have stumbled on clearing the second. We don’t know this for certain — the Va. GOP hasn’t explained why Gingrich and Perry failed to qualify– but this seems likely.

Gathering enough signatures from enough of the different districts proved too tricky. In at least one district that’s a tall order. Virginia’s 3rd and 8th congressional district, for example, are among the most Democratic in the country, with a PVI score of D+20 and D+16, respectively. Woody Allen may be right when he said 90% of success is just showing up, but it is hard to show up when there is effectively no Republican party in some congressional districts.

Worse yet, Virginia’s House of Delegates complicated matters further when voters may not know which congressional district they live in thanks to an ongoing state-wide fight over redistricting. Virginia Republicans submitted a map in April 2011, but Virginia Democrats seemed insistent on pushing the matter to January 2012 and then to federal court if they don’t enough black–and therefore Democratic–congressional districts. They would sue the state under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and toss the matter of redistricting over to the federal courts.

It’s the prerogative of any state party to set up the rules that govern its primary but it sure seems short-sighted to disqualify two candidates that fulfilled the 10,000 signatures requirement, especially given how much Virginia GOP could benefit from a renewed focus and all that earned media attention on the Old Dominion.

If the Republican Party wanted to rig the system for Mitt Romney then you might expect to see something like this pop up.
But the Republican Party elites would never do anything like that… Right?

UPDATE: According to Big Government and Ballot Access News the Virginia law was changed in October.

The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court.

And then there’s this:

The VA GOP published a letter that announced that any candidate who submitted a petition with more than 15,000 signatures would not be checked (’shall be deemed to have met the threshold for qualification and will be certified’).

The letter is at

Romney submitted 16,000 signatures. Newt submitted 12,000.

Both Newt and Rick Perry reportedly turned in over 10,000 signatures before the deadline. But it looks like the rules were changed mid-game. This doesn’t pass the smell test.

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  • Paul in N. AL

    The way this is being spread out over multiple states has the smell of large scale corruption.

  • Dan

    I’m not sure this is Constitutional.

    Prohibiting the consideration of a write-in candidate?

    So if a voter desires to write in somebody not on the ballot, when the party provides a vote and a count procedure, that a write-in candidate won’t be counted, ———- such a system allows insiders to rig the election results, and what’s more, allows for the preclusion ab initio of certain “candidates,” and these “candidates” are American citizens.

    Parties to be sure have powers over their primary process, but that power is not plenary.

  • The All Real Numbers Symbol

    It’s almost as though the Republicans really, really want to lose. Virginia GOP rigged the system to give us either the lunatic Ron Paul – no, I do not want to ‘be friends’ with Iran. Sorry, Paulbots – or the idiot who gave Massachusetts socialized medicine. Given Romney’s wonderful record, I don’t doubt for a moment that it will be a cold, cold day in hell before he overturns Obamacare. (Sorry Romney the Constitution doesn’t provide for free healthcare for everyone. Better luck next time.)

    Why do the Republicans even have the ‘GOP’ nomination? They’re not grand and I’m REALLY tired of these Democrat-lite nominees. Idiots. The only thing that keeps me from hoping that the R’s get decimated in the election is the realization that we’d be stuck with Obama again.

  • RedBeard

    If crazy old Ron Paul and Mitt Romney could each get the required signatures, there’s no logical reason why Perry and Gingrich could not do the same thing. Finding 400 Republican signatures for Perry or Gingrich, even in a heavily democrat district, just doesn’t seem very difficult. There are nearly 700,000 people in each district. One person going door to door could get 400 signatures each for Earl Pitts, Pat Paulsen, and Harold Stassen.

    This just doesn’t make sense as a conspiracy, but it does make sense as the result of totally incompetent campaign coordination.

  • Multitude

    Apparently they don’t study history or philosophy in the elite prep schools. History is rife with events where the elites eliminated the moderate reform options for the people, thinking it’d force the people to be stuck with the elite’s corrupt option by default. Instead, the most radical option emerged.

    Ron Paul may be that option in Virginia. I don’t like Paul, think he’s a foreign policy disaster, and have a strong hunch he consults with aliens, unicorns and talking animals on a regular basis. He’s a quirky, strange man who would probably be unable to work with both political parties if elected.

    And he may be just what they get. We’ve seen this phenomenon repeated so often that I’m shocked the elites don’t change their radical-encouraging behavior. Curiously, they seem utterly incapable of recognizing the problem is them, and the threshold has been exceeded now. Egypt, East Germany, Philippines and so many other examples are there for them to see.

    The United States is there and has critical mass: a tea party middle class exhausted by excess taxation, diminishing wages and upper class elites shifting the middle class jobs overseas. Retirement pensions and social security have been bankrupted by the elites and in its stead are more than a hundred trillion of debt obligations, to which the elites signed to the middle class to pay, while they attend special forums documented by Jamie Johnson on setting up trusts to avoid all the taxes they claim to support.

    The United States also has a rising college radical class, and an unsettled lower class that doesn’t know it but will soon face 20% or greater unemployment as the middle class exhausts its capacity to sustain the majority of its lifestyle, ceasing purchases in the services sector.

    Revolution appears structurally inevitable when the elites rig the system to prevent meaningful reform, essentially requiring revolution by their refusal to permit a moderating release of such energies through actual meaningful reforms.

  • tadcf

    I’ve never heard of candidates being so disorganized. Would you want one of these becoming president?

  • just a conservative girl

    These rules have been in place for the past three presidential elections. No other major candidate has missed it before. Fred Thompson, who was sleep walking through his campaign, and Alan Keyes both managed to get on.

    This is about a lack of organization, not the rules. I say this as a person living in Virginia who planned on voting for Perry. He turned in sheets that were not notarized; meaning no one bothered to check.

    Yes, I am being cheated by the lack of choice, but the people who cheated me are the candidates.

  • ruready?

    Read the instructions!! Good grief. This is not an unreasonable expectation set forth by Virginia. I have a fundamental problem with the ability of the candidates that failed to qualify (and, quite frankly, those that did qualify). All republicans should be proud slate of their slate of candidates.

  • gary gulrud

    Romney had 16000 and everyone falling short of his number was disqualified.

    And Newt polling at 41%.

    This means war.

  • Gini

    The petitioning process requires a dedicated team and they must know what they are doing. The rules were not written this year, they are long standing. If Romney and Paul could organise and do it, what was wrong with the other campaigns? To blame it on anything but lack of organisation is childish. I work during the petitioning season here in NYC. It’s not easy finding enough signatures, but one is supplied with a listing of those eligible to sign the petitions in each district and if the candidates team doesn’t follow the rules – well then, the candidate simply does not qualify. It’s simply, straight forward, and easy – – if one follows rules.

  • Multitude

    I’m not certain if those claiming “all the other kids who didn’t turn in their homework were lazy and you wouldn’t want them” are trolls or just naive. My first cousin in Richmond knows of their local RNC issues and said the apparatus is so structured in the state as to only work for and recognize the party elite’s designate that it’s nearly impossible for Virginia to be anything but an insider election.

    Think of the former USSR and how you could have anybody run, but the system was guaranteed to ensure the people were not confused with anything other than that which the elites had already deemed safe, resulting in (of course) a single candidate each time.

    If one or two didn’t make the numbers, that’d be one thing. Perry got in later, but many others did not. Dig deep enough into the RNC rules and you’ll find they created this structure to effectuate this very outcome. To blame the candidates just indicates you’re a naive rube, particularly when the structure repeatedly allows for either the party elite’s designate, or a nationally funded and persistent, recurring election threat like Ron Paul (an apparent Ralph Nader of the right).

  • Davidb

    Both Gingrich and Perry collected enough signatures. Over 2000 names were thrown out by the VA GOP. For the first time ever if the address provided did not match the name it was tossed. Paul and Romney’s signatures were not scrutinized in the same manner.

  • Bill Mitchell

    Since this race will be long over before we even get to the Virginia Primary, the only way this hurts Newt is if it makes him look like a bad manager by not being able to get the signatures. The fact that most of the current candidates did not qualify helps Newt with this as well as the onerous rules.

    I am expecting a Newt surge in Iowa as Conservative support consolidates in order to prevent a Paul win. My point being that who will vote for Bachmann or Perry knowing that by doing so they are guaranteeing a Paul win thus making Iowa even more irrelevant that it already is in future election cycles?

    My prediction? Newt wins 3 out of the first 4 contests then cruises to the nomination.

  • Davidb

    Why It’s Time to Change Virginia’s Unreasonable Ballot Access Law: For all candidates who have met the statutory requirement, I think the Party’s plan to scrutinize some candidates’ signatures and not others, based upon the arbitrary standard of whether the candidates submitted a full 50% more than the statutory requirement, violates the Equal Protection Clause under Bush v. Gore. It seems to me that all candidates who facially meet the statutory requirement should have their petitions and signatures adjudged according to the same standard. More on that here if it becomes an issue.

  • Bill Mitchell

    As a sidenote, did Georgette Mosbacher go to the Tammy Faye Baker School of Cosmetology? Why does our Republican Leader in VA insist on looking like a $3 whore?

  • Old One

    In reality the “repubican” establisment has committed seppuku for the party with its base. The reality is that ordinary republican voters have a gag reflex when they see the cucumber & mayonaise sandwich man Mittens.

  • Bill Mitchell

    Also, do not forget that until just recently, Newt was in single digits and had no money. The fact that he wasn’t able to get this done is unsurprising. I am pretty sure Newt had no intent of actually making it to VA before dropping out.

  • jeremiah lloyd

    I thought it was a man.

    My post got lost or something. Anyway this is no big loss. By March this should be a winner take all state.

    They’re idiots. Paul wins Iowa at best. Vote for Paul in Virginia if your candidate doesn’t appear on the ballot, then he wins Virginia and Romney gets nothing. Plus it gives guys like Newt a chance to endorse Paul and pick up some votes.

  • Sickofobama

    I don’t know or care who that TransDyke is but I ain’t voting for Romneycare.

    The GOP doesn’t need any votes.

    They will proclaim Romneycare the nominee and Obama will win – something John Bonehead wants.

    All I have to say to the GOP is F*CK OFF!

  • Multitude

    Bill, I don’t think you’re going to see the Newt surge. From the southwest part of Iowa, many of us active in preparation for our caucus have seen the dynamic behind his lift collapse as people began to understand he’s a big government, fiscally liberal, somewhat socially conservative egocentric individual. Both he and Romney are terribly unlikeable; the polling data for Newt on women’s support must be dismal from what I’ve seen.

    I have a lot of friends who are so fired up in rage at the corrupt RNC and their game playing here and elsewhere that has stood by while good candidates get assassinated that they’re going to go give the Ron Paul protest vote. Talked to one friend and business owner that employs 90 in the Omaha area and he’s convinced that lacking an outsider, the nation will collapse. The party has eliminated all but one outsider; by default, he’ll get that support (which is growing).

    I don’t know if I can pull the trigger for Paul, given the extent I work internationally and cannot imagine the extent of disaster he’d be if successful. However, I’m quite confident that he’d be ignored by both parties, which also has its consequences.