Archive for December 28th, 2011
The most important things happening in the 2012 presidential campaign are no doubt coming from Iowa, with their first in the nation caucus just a few days away. But while the candidates make their closing arguments, the Virginia ballot squabble continues to hang over the discussion.
In the most interesting development from today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich put the blame for missing the ballot on a single member of his campaign team that collected signatures on his behalf. During an event today, Gingrich explained his failure to make the ballot as the result of his staff member committing fraud.
“We hired somebody who turned in false signatures,” said Gingrich. ”We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud.” (h/t CNN)
Sources that were inside the room while the ballots were being counted say tell me that the Gingrich’s account “closely mirrors” what they saw that night.
The conservative website Bearing Drift, reported the night of the counting that the rumor from the inside was that about 2,000 signatures were going to be tossed.
This unlikely scenario was actually predicted by a satirical twitter page, designed to make fun of NBC12. I have more on that on my facebook page.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s campaign continues its legal challenge to get access to the Virginia ballot. Today they requested an emergency order in federal court to require Virginia’s Board of Elections to place his name on the ballot.
His campaign contends that the voters are the ones whose rights are being violated by leaving them fewer options for Super Tuesday.
In an interview on NBC12 First at 4, Perry Communications director Ray Sullivan told me from Iowa that despite his commitment to state’s rights, the Texas governor, believes the federal courts have every right to intervene.
“He (Perry) believes the Constitution gives both the voters and citizens of Virginia as well as the candidates the reasonable rights to the political process that we believe are being are infringed by onerous and restrictive ballot access rules,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan claims that Virginia’s requirement of 10,000 signatures, including 400 from each congressional district is particularly restrictive.
“The 10,000 requirement when you have 7 candidates seeking a pool of 119,000 republican voters is an unreasonable and onerous burden to put on the candidates,” said Sullivan. “That in effect, denies people the right to participate in the political process.”
But what Sullivan couldn’t explain, was how the campaign told the Virginia Board of Elections that they had collected more than 11,000 signatures when in reality, only 6,000 were handed in.
“I don’t have an explanation for you,” said Sullivan. ”The petitions were turned in.”
You can see our entire interview with Sullivan below:
While the campaigns made moves of their own to re-establish themselves on the Virginia ballot, former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman called for state lawmakers to enact “emergency legislation” to allow more people to get on the ballot. A path that House Majority Leader Kirk Cox told us yesterday was unlikely.
Andy Jenks has that part of the story on NBC12.com.
And while all these different groups continued to make excuses and attack the Republican Party of Virginia, today the party struck back. They released a passionate defense of their petition certification process and reminded reporters of their intial assessment that Perry and Gingrich fell well short of the 10,000 mark.
“The failure of these two candidates to meet the state requirements does not call into question the accuracy of the Party’s certification of the two candidates who are duly qualified to appear on the ballot,” wrote party spokesman Garren Shipley.
Their full statement can be found after the jump: