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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich

Obama goes after Romney in TV ad airing in Virginia

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We aren’t quite to the general election yet, but don’t tell that to the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.



For the first time in the 2012 election, the Obama campaign specifically mentioned a potential opponent in a television ad. The ad, which is in response to another ad attacking the president by a third-party group, defends the president’s record on energy. They point out that domestic energy production has gone up under the president’s leadership and the ad accuses Mitt Romney of defending “big oil”.

The Romney campaign said in a statement that the president is just hoping to deflect his poor handling of rising gas prices.

But while Romney and Obama begin to engage, the republicans have yet to settle on a nominee. Romney is the clear front-runner and it is certainly his nomination to lose, but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have yet to concede anything. In fact Tuesday brings with it, another round of primaries. They are contests that could result in gains for Romney, but may not be enough for the former Massachusetts governor to close the deal.

Here in Virginia though, the general election is already underway in earnest. And we are still more than 200 days away from voters going to the polls.

**The ad from the American Energy Alliance can be seen below:



Written by Ryan Nobles

April 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Virginia primary: by the numbers

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It was largely an uneventful night in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but we did learn a little bit about the electorate and where it may lead us in November. For the most part the news was mostly good for former Massachussettes Gov. Mitt Romney.

Here is a look at some of the more interesting numbers that came out of Tuesday nights vote:

VA Primary Results:

Delegate breakdown:
*Total up grabs- 46
*Romney- 43
*Paul- 3

Exit Polls
(If all had made the ballot)

Romney- 40%
Paul- 24%
Santorum- 20%
Gingrich- 13%

Geographic Results
Romney vote totals

Richmond area- 59%
Hampton Roads- 58%
D.C. Suburbs- 59%
Northern VA- 52%

Total Turnout
263,186 of 5,155,342 total voters (5.105%)

Now on to the general election for Virginia voters.. no rest for the political talk as President Barack Obama comes to Prince George on Friday.

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Gingrich, Perry active in defending themselves in Virginia ballot squabble

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Cox on chances of changing GOP ballot access: “zero to none”

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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:

RPV presidential petition process marred by controversy, tragedy

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

At a time when Virginia is expected to be considered one of the most important states in the 2012 presidential election, its first moment in the national spotlight was overshadowed by only two of the potential seven candidates gaining access to the ballot and a party volunteer losing her life in a car accident.

Two different GOP officials confirm that a woman, that was helping count and verify signatures submitted by presidential candidates, was involved in a serious car crash after leaving the signature canvassing session. She was killed in the accident.

Her identity was not immediatley available.

The fatal accident was the capper of a difficult and somewhat embarrassing night for the state republican party. Of the seven potential candidates for president, only four attempted to submit the necessary 10,000 signatures to get on the March 6th ballot. Of the four that decided to participate only two, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, were certified as official candidates.

Texas Governor Rick Perry fell far short of being certified. A GOP activist said that despite telling the state Board of Elections that he submitted more than 11 thousand signatures, the Perry campaign handed in somewhere between 4-6 thousands qualified signatures.

Then early Saturday morning, The RPV determined that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had just spent two days drumming up support and cash for the state party, also did not qualify for the ballot. Gingrich was disqualified at 2:50am.

The credible conservative blog, Bearing Drift is reporting that one of the Gingrich’s petition gatherers was not qualified. According to BD, that accounted for as many as 2 thousand of the speaker’s signatures being tossed, but could open the door to a legal challenge.

Losing both Gingrich and Perry from the Virginia primary ballot is shocking, given that both have worked to develop strong ties to the Commonwealth. Gingrich is a Virginia resident and has spent quite a bit of time traveling the state over the past several years. Perry is close with Governor Bob McDonnell and headlined a very successful fundraiser for the party in September.

In the wake of this petition drama, pundits from both sides of the aisle are saying that this process has separated the true contenders from those just going through the motions.

Norm Leahy wrote this morning that the Virginia Republican petition process actually became the first actual presidential primary. “A hardened cynic might say this result exposes those campaigns for what they are: glorified book tours,” Wrote Leahy. He went on to say, “Getting on Virginia’s ballot was a test of organizational skill and grassroots strength. It was also something much more mundane: it tested whether campaigns could pay attention to a calendar and read instructions.”

Former Democratic Party of Virginia chairman Paul Goldman, who predicted Perry and Gingrich wouldn’t make it, said the failure of the major candidates indicates problems with their campaign infrastructure. “This is a failing of the national Perry and Gingrich campaigns who are supposed to helping locals get it done,” he said. However, Goldman believes the people are the ones who suffer. He believes the General Assembly should entertain the idea of changing the law to give these candidates a reprieve in time for the March primary.

Meanwhile Virginia Democrats certified President Barack Obama as their only candidate for the March primary.

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

Perry falls far short of making Virginia primary ballot

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Texas Governor Rick Perry will not appear on the Virginia Republican primary ballot on March 6th. The Republican Party of Virginia, which is still in the process of counting the signatures the candidates submitted to gain access to the ballot, said tonight that the Perry campaign submitted fewer than the 10,000 signatures necessary according to the Code of Virginia.

Sources inside the room tell NBC12 that Perry did not even come close.

A GOP activist who witnessed the count said that it became very clear that the Perry campaign, which reported to the Virginia Board of elections that it had gathered 11,911 signatures, did not come anywhere near that number. This source said Perry’s campaign may have submitted somewhere between 4-6 thousand qualified signatures.

Perry’s State Chair, former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore confirmed that his candidate did not make the ballot.

Not making the ballot will be a disappointment to the Perry campaign, which enjoyed pretty solid ties to Virginia. The Texas Governor is close friends with Governor Bob McDonnell and was enthusiastically welcomed to the Commonwealth shortly after he announced his intentions to run for president. He spoke to a capacity crowd at the Richmond Convention Center at a fundraiser for the State Party.

At that time Perry was the frontrunner, now he is fighting for survival by hoping for a 3rd or 4th place finish in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

Perry now joins, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman as candidates who failed to make the Virginia primary ballot.  So far only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have been certified. The party is still counting Newt Gingrich‘s signatures.

 *Note photo courtesy of DJ Eckert

Gingrich to come to Richmond to raise cash

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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a candidate for the republican nomination for president, will be in the Richmond area on Thursday to raise money for his campaign the Republican Party of Virginia.

Gingrich will appear at a fundraiser at a hotel in Short Pump.

Governor Bob McDonnell will stop by the event and meet Gingrich.

The former Speaker had jumped out to a sizeable lead in the GOP polls, but a round of heavy attacks from Ron Paul and Mitt Romney has damaged his standings in the polls.  Gingrich is generally liked by republican voters, but faces a tougher challenge in a general election campaign against President Barack Obama.

A recent Public Policy Polling survey found Gingrich to be a solid front-runner in the republican primary by Virginia voters.  Virginia’s presidential primary does not take place until March 6th, which is also Super Tuesday.

Gingrich will be the third GOP presidential candidate to visit Central Virginia in the last several weeks.  The former Massachusetts Governor, Romney hosted a private fundraiser on December 8th in downtown Richmond. Governor McDonnell was scheduled to attend but canceled because it was the same day as the shooting that killed Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse.  Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman held a fundraiser last Thursday at the Country Club of Virginia, that McDonnell dropped in on. 

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor is looking forward to seeing Gingrich.

“The Governor knows the Speaker well, and he looks forward to stopping by this event,” said Martin. “Governor McDonnell believes the Speaker is running an energetic campaign, and he’s pleased to see him bringing that campaign to his home state of Virginia on Thursday.”

McDonnell of course has repeatedly talked about his desire to see a governor win the nomination. There is also some scuttle that a Gingrich nomination would rule McDonnell out of the running for Vice-President, because both he and the Speaker are Virginians.

Both Romney and Huntsman did not offer any opportunity for press coverage. There is no word on the plans for press access for the Gingrich event on Thursday.