Cox on chances of changing GOP ballot access: “zero to none”
Virginia House Majority Leader Kirk Cox doesn’t like the odds of the General Assembly altering the rules to allow more candidates onto the GOP presidential primary ballot in March. In an interview with NBC12′s Andy Jenks, Cox said the chances of that happening are “zero to none”.
Cox sympathizes with Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who were kicked off the ballot after not getting enough qualified signatures, but said they knew the rules ahead of time. According to Cox, their poor planning should not lead the state legislature to rush in to changing the standards.
“I think the biggest mistake you can make though is to jump into it and say, Oh yeah because one candidate was affected let us go back and completely change the law,” he said. “I think that makes bad policy.”
Cox is open to changing the law in the future, but doubts that there will be an appetite for rushing through legislation before March. His opinion is different that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who assailed the process in a e-newsletter to his supporters. While Cuccinelli’s opinion matters, Cox is among a small group of lawmakers with the power to actually change the law. The fact that he appears unwilling to do so speaks volumes.
His perspective seems to be in line with Governor Bob McDonnell, who in the wake of the ballot controversy told us that the rules are the rules.
“If somebody doesn’t like the rules, maybe the legislature can change it next time,” said McDonnell. ”But everybody knew this was the rules to compete with.” Extended clips from McDonnell’s remarks can be found below.
But the legislature may be one of several paths that supporters of the candidates left out may be able to take. Former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman is exploring some of those options with the conservative “Citizens for the Republic’. Today on First at 4, Goldman told me it’s not about Gingrich or Romney it is about the voters who will have fewer options to choose from.
UPDATE: It appears Goldman is not the only looking into a non-leglislative solution to the ballot access problem. Late today the campaign for Rick Perry announced that they have filed a Federal Court Challenge to the RPV’s decision to deny him access to the ballot.
His challenge can be found here.
Goldman hopes to reveal his plan to help get more candidates on the ballot as soon as tomorrow. My conversation with him from First at 4 can be found below:
Governor McDonnell’s comments on the subject can be seen below: