One-time Republican Primary frontrunner Rick Perry filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to get on Virginia's 2012 Republican Primary ballot after not producing enough signatures to meet requirements last week.
The Texas Governor was excluded from the March 6 primary after failing to submit ballot petitions with the 10,000 signature minimum needed to have his candidacy recognized. Virginia's election rules also require the petitions include 400 voters from each of the state's 11 congressional districts.
Perry's suit challenges the constitutionality of the process, claiming it disenfranchises voters seeking the candidate of their choosing. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, it names the head of the state's Republican party as well as its board of elections as defendants.
Gov. Perry greatly respects the citizens and history of the Commonwealth of Virginia and believes Virginia Republicans should have greater access to vote for one of the several candidates for President of the United States, Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan said, according to Reuters. We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot. We hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support.
The loss of a place in the Old Dominion's primary represents a significant blow to Perry's presidential hopes, after his floundering campaign has been stuck trying to rejuvenate itself and syphon off as many conservative Christian voters as possible.
Despite aggressive efforts collecting thousands of Virginia signatures after Governor Perry's mid-August entry into the race, we were notified this evening of apparently falling short of the 10,000 voter signatures needed to qualify, Perry's campaign said in a statement after the state ruled against it.
The one-time darling of the Republican cannot sidestep the primary, which will be crucial to keeping his candidacy afloat. Virginia's primary system does not allow write-in candidates, which left Perry with little recourse but to take his problem to the courts.
Perry was not the only one shut out by Virginia's rules, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum also failed to make the ballot. As it stands, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are the only two candidates on the ballot for the state's so-called Super Tuesday primary.