Failing the competence primary; Update: VA GOP chair statement added

posted at 8:55 am on December 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Candidates for office face many tasks, but a few of those are basic to their mission.  One of the most basic is understanding and meeting the requirements to get onto the ballot in the first place.  Presidential candidates don’t do this themselves, of course; they hire a staff to handle these basic functions, and the performance of their staff becomes a test of the candidate’s competence and executive performance.  Unfortunately, at least two of the Republican presidential hopefuls flunked this test in Virginia, and I write in my column for The Fiscal Times today that this amounts to a competence primary on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Both campaigns have claimed some level of victimization, but both Virginia Republicans and the facts don’t support them:

Gingrich and his supporters have argued that he and Perry have been victimized byunreasonable ballot-access rules and by a change of enforcement prompted by a court case this year.  They claim that the Republican Party had never verified signatures in the past, a claim disputed by a contemporaneous account in 2007 by Erick Erickson, a conservative activist and now a CNN commentator.   Erickson included an e-mail from the state GOP informing the campaigns on December 14, 2007, that the party would do “a hard count for number of signatures based on correctness of form” three days later – a process to which Erickson objected at the time as needlessly stringent.

It’s also disputed in an e-mail to me by a Republican Party official at the county level in Virginia (as it happens, a Perry supporter). The official claimed that signature verification has taken place for at least a decade, saying, “This is not Chicago politics.”  Furthermore, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent volunteers to “target rich” party events over the last several months to get signatures in a common, “pitch and catch” process in the state.  He has never seen representatives with petitions for either Gingrich or Perry at these events, where party officials will usually sign petitions for all candidates regardless of whom they support in order to ensure a meaningful primary for Virginia.  Nothing significant has changed in Virginia law on petitions in the past decade, except to make it easier to get signatures by reducing the requirement for Social Security number collection to a voluntary choice.

Remember Fred Thompson?  A popular figure among Republicans, his campaign performance underwhelmed voters who initially flocked to his side in 2007 when he jumped into the race late in the cycle.  Like Perry, Thompson raised a lot of money fast — $21 million for 2007, which will probably end up being quite a bit less than Perry in 2011. With less time than Perry and a campaign that seemed lethargic all year, Thompson still managed to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.  For that matter, so did Dennis Kucinich on the Democratic side, who ended up with a grand total of 1,625 votes in the Virginia primary in 2008, a fraction of the number of required signatures to have qualified for the ballot in the first place.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman also failed to qualify.  In my column, I attribute that less to executive incompetence than a strategic deployment of very finite resources.  Bachmann and Santorum will be finished if they can’t win, place, or show in Iowa, and Huntsman will be out if he can’t win or place in New Hampshire.  Kucinich managed to qualify even with a small campaign war chest, but Kucinich is more analogous to Ron Paul — a protest candidate marching to the beat of his own drum.  Clearly, Perry had the resources to get on the ballot in Virginia, and Gingrich has lived in Virginia for the last 12 years and couldn’t afford to ignore his own home state.

The Washington Examiner’s Steve Contorno report also disputes the notion that Gingrich, Perry, and the rest of the Republican field got stymied by new processes.  Instead, it’s clear that the campaigns simply didn’t get the job done (via Instapundit):

There is speculation that Gingrich and Perry were rejected because Virginia Republicans used stricter criteria to judge the validity of voters’ signatures, including checking each voter’s current address. The blog Ballot Access News reported that the GOP gave candidates a free pass in previous elections but checked the petitions more diligently this year after Mike Osborne, an independent candidate for state delegate, sued the party over its procedure for verifying signatures.

However, state party officials insisted nothing changed from previous election cycles. Gingrich and Perry simply failed to meet the standard, they said.

Chris Woodfin, third district GOP chairman, said Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures and Gingrich turned in only a few more than the bare minimum, making it likely that just a few disqualified signatures would prevent him from getting on the ballot.

“I didn’t hear from a lot of these campaigns until the beginning of December or after that. They had since July 1,” Woodfin said. “Some other people might have sympathy for them. I don’t.”

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the Virginia GOP tightened its standards because of the lawsuit last year.  Shouldn’t the campaigns have been in contact with the state party early in this cycle to get a handle on the requirements?  It’s called due diligence, and either way it’s very clear that neither campaign did their due diligence in regard to Virginia.  That speaks directly to executive competence.  Perry has never run a campaign outside of Texas, and Gingrich has never run a campaign outside of his own district in Georgia while serving in the House and hasn’t run at all for more than a decade, and it shows in both cases.  They both showed up late, didn’t bother to determine the task requirements, and ended up failing where Mitt Romney and Ron Paul succeeded.  Perry can’t claim a lack of resources, and for Gingrich, Virginia is his home state, and has been for twelve years.

In my conclusion, I argue that this matters strategically for the GOP:

This takes us back to the competency issue.  If Republicans choose to make executive competence an issue, the failure to understand Virginia ballot law will not speak well of the executive competence of either Gingrich or Perry.  With Gingrich taking hits from former House colleagues on the issue of his managerial competence as Speaker, this is a primary test that Gingrich very much needed to pass.  For Republican voters in Virginia and around the nation, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul won the competence primary in the Old Dominion, which has to have some impact on the calculus for the rest of the primaries.

It matters even more in the sense of trust.  If these two campaigns were this sloppy about a Super Tuesday primary state, how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

Update: Via commenter Swamp Yankee, here’s the notice that the VA GOP published to inform campaigns of the petition requirements, among others, to gain a ballot slot.  This went out in March of this year.  A few choice quotes, emphasis mine:

Must be signed by not less than 10,000 qualified voters in Virginia,  including at least 400 qualified voters from each of Virginia’s eleven congressional districts, who attest that they intend to participate in the primary of the same political party as the candidate named on the petition.

Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 – 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district.

Must provide the true signature, the printed full name and the full resident address of each qualified voter and the date each signed the petition.

Virginia Republicans handed candidates a road map.  Petitions could be gathered from July 1 forward, and yet only two of the candidates proved they could follow a map in more than five month’s time.

Update II: The chair of the Republican Party of Viriginia, Pat Mullens, posted a statement on Facebook late last night defending the RPV from accusations that it played favorites in the certification process:

First of all, I am neutral in the Primary. As the Party’s leader I think that it’s important I ensure a level playing field, not take a side. Plus, any one of our nominees will be better than the current occupant of the White House. Our Country is spiraling downward, economically and socially, and we need to be united to win in November, 2012.

Second, the Republican Party of Virginia merely certifies petition signatures. We don’t set ballot access laws. Those laws are set by the General Assembly, not by the RPV.

The candidates for President all knew the laws set by the Commonwealth of Virginia that they needed to abide by to get on the ballot. We can’t change the rules mid-game to right what may or may not be a wrong. The law is the law.

Lastly, this is a personal opinion. Virginia is the cradle of Democracy. The ballot access laws should be modified and streamlined to allow greater participation. We can’t do anything about 2012 at this point. But I do intend to appeal to our General Assembly and elected leaders to bring Virginia’s ballot access more in line with other states — simpler and streamlined with greater access. I think it’s important that the people in Virginia get to vote for the candidate of their choice, not be restricted.

One more thing — Rick Perry sued Virginia, RPV and me today, so I probably going to be told by our lawyers I can’t say anything more about this. It’s not usual that I’m sued by someone I like, but politics is strange, huh? :}

The laws that govern the petitions were documented in March by the RPV to any candidate looking to access the ballot in Virginia, as shown above, but the law is accessible to anyone regardless of whether the RPV made it easy as they did in their March circular.  They even stressed that the usual rate of bad signatures would probably mean collecting a ratio of 3:2 or 2:1 to ensure that enough legitimate signatures were collected between July 1 and mid-December to qualify for the ballot.  I’m not sure what else the RPV was expected to do.

Update III: A few people have pointed to this undated announcement from Pat Mullins as a kind of “smoking gun” to prove that the rules changed late in the game.  However, all this memo does is explain exactly how Virginia law requires the RPV to certify petitions, and doesn’t change anything at all.  State law allows them to assume that a submission of more than 15,000 signatures amounts to enough signatures to assume the 10,000, but otherwise the signatures must be checked against state law, in subsection 24.2-506, which states (emphasis mine):

The name of any candidate for any office, other than a party nominee, shall not be printed upon any official ballots provided for the election unless he shall file along with his declaration of candidacy a petition therefor, on a form prescribed by the State Board, signed by the number of qualified voters specified below after January 1 of the year in which the election is held and listing the residence address of each such voter. Each signature on the petition shall have been witnessed by a person who is himself a qualified voter, or qualified to register to vote, for the office for which he is circulating the petition and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition.

Each voter signing the petition may provide on the petition the last four digits of his social security number, if any; however, noncompliance with this requirement shall not be cause to invalidate the voter’s signature on the petition.

Note that the 15,000 threshold is actually less restrictive than the party’s suggestion to get as many as 20,000 to ensure qualification.


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Oh please. By the general, the republican nominee, whoever it is, will have a smooth running campaign. This VA ballot is not a big deal to most Americans…they’re still asleep.

thedevilinside on December 28, 2011 at 8:58 AM

It’s important to resolve this question of whether the signature-checking was reimplemented at the last minute or not. I’ve seen lots of stuff flying around, but not a lot of hard fact.

If it was, then Gingrich and Perry have a defense. If not, then not so much.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

I cant believe Perry and Newt supporters want to keep this story in the limelight. Its double incompetence. Their initial failure, and thei failure to man up and blame others. Every day this is out there, is a good day for Romney and Paul.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

a test of the candidate’s competence and executive performance.

Hard to argue with this unless you filter it through the current”president’s” performance…then it seems not to matter one bit.
Can it be an indicator, you bet! Is it always…no way. Gingrich’s ability to take back the House and pass the Contract with America would seem to be a better test…is it analyzed/reported/blogged…No way!

winston on December 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

Now run that through the prism of Democrats being able to register Mickey Mouse.

trubble on December 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Ed, can you try to get a statement from the head of the VA GOP, instead of this smattering of denials from lower-level people? It would do the blogosphere a service in trying to sort this out….

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Thanks Ed for telling it like it is. Conspiracy theories drive me nuts.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

So, Ed. In light of this post, are you endorsing the cranky old isolationist nutjob or the Northeastern flip-floppin’ snob? (And you can’t say “Pawlenty”.) :)

kingsjester on December 28, 2011 at 9:03 AM

It matters even more in the sense of trust.  If these two campaigns were this sloppy about a Super Tuesday primary state, how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

That’s all that matters, the rest of your editorial is filler. It’s amateur hour for everybody but Paul and Romney, and it’s not going to be Paul that gets the nod.

Fenris on December 28, 2011 at 9:05 AM

It matters even more in the sense of trust.  If these two campaigns were this sloppy about a Super Tuesday primary state, how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

Presumably, if one of them wins the nomination, there will be assistance from nationally experienced people.

herm2416 on December 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Failing the competence primary

But of course! It was obvious from the very beginning of the election cycle that Romney and Huntsman were the only grown-ups running.

hicsuget on December 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Epic Fails!

KOOLAID2 on December 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Presumably, if one of them wins the nomination, there will be assistance from nationally experienced people.

herm2416 on December 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Wow, that reeks of competence.

And would someone like Gingrich (“I’m going to do it my way”) even take it?

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

And Mussolini had the trains running on time.

Romney is a white Obama. Romney will get crushed in 2012, and he’ll look as feckless as McCain as he does so.

God help me, at least with Newt, we’d have a campaign’s worth of warnings to America of what we’ll look like in 2016 after four more years of Obama. Seriously, isn’t anyone else fed up with waking up to learn how Obama’s federal government has found a new way to intervene in the economy and in the rest of our lives?

So, with Romney, we get to lose admirably?

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

So, Ed. In light of this post, are you endorsing the cranky old isolationist nutjob or the Northeastern flip-floppin’ snob? (And you can’t say “Pawlenty”.) :)

kingsjester on December 28, 2011 at 9:03 AM

I won’t “endorse” anyone, but right now I’m rooting for an unexpectedly good Iowa outcome for Rick Santorum. Just found out I’ll miss the MN caucuses, too, because of CPAC.

Ed Morrissey on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Ed, can you try to get a statement from the head of the VA GOP, instead of this smattering of denials from lower-level people? It would do the blogosphere a service in trying to sort this out…

.

There is a lot of stuff already out there, some are in denial. This bulletin alone dated May 2011 shows that 10K valid signatures were needed and urged candidates to get 15K. A

A professional campaign pays attention to this and covers it bases.

http://tiny.cc/poum4

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Romney has incompetent policies…. that’s much worse.

Pragmatic on December 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Headline says it all.

lexhamfox on December 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Ed Morrissey on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

;)

kingsjester on December 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Three words: Tora! Tora! Tora!

YYZ on December 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Actually, Ed misses the mark on what the problem is. The problem is changing the rules regarding the petition process in November when the petition process is already underway, and also given that the signatures are due in December.

Let’s put it this way. Say you have Gingrich who gets 10,500 signatures, Perry who gets 11,000 signatures, and Romney who gets 16,000 signatures. If you then change the rules so only people with 15,000 or more signatures can join the race, then you’re basically fiddling with the rules to try to throw your state’s race to one guy.

When it comes to due diligence, the state law should not have been amended during the petition process. That’s changing the rules in the middle of the game. If a campaign contacts the state elections board to ask about signatures, and is given one figure one day, only to have that change the next day and not be informed about the change, then is that on the campaign, or is that on the election board?

It would seem to me that’s on the election board. Or are Perry and Gingrich supposed to have staffers who check for updates to election law in every state every day?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

No way… it just has to be some sort of evil conspiracy by those “establishment” RINOs who just do everything they can to prevent the rise of the Great Conservative Pumpkin. You have to beeeeeelieve! One little slip and the Great Conservative Pumpkin could pass us by for another year… leaving us with an establishment RINO. Now it’s time to Testify! Testify! I will never ever ever ever ever vote for an establishment RINO. They are all Satan’s spawn (spit on the ground)! But of course after we trash them, we just know they’ll vote for the Great Conservative Pumpkin (whomever that happens to be this week). ;-)

rhombus on December 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

I cant believe Perry and Newt supporters want to keep this story in the limelight.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Both Governor Perry and Speaker Gingrich are on my short list of who to vote for, and I don’t want to keep this story in the limelight.

Their not making the VA ballot is a failure on the part of their campaign managers, which in the chain of responsibility, moves upward to the candidates themselves.

IMHO, they should accept it and move on, vowing to be more diligent in the future.

Flora Duh on December 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I won’t “endorse” anyone, but right now I’m rooting for an unexpectedly good Iowa outcome for Rick Santorum. Just found out I’ll miss the MN caucuses, too, because of CPAC.

Ed Morrissey on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

I’m rooting for Santorum myself.

thedevilinside on December 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Ed, you conveniently ignore that the rules changed this November. To say that there is nothing wrong with changing the rules in the middle of the game is to have a very odd ethic.

boone on December 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Romney is a white Obama. Romney will get crushed in 2012, and he’ll look as feckless as McCain as he does so.

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

If Romney is a white Obama, how is he going to get crushed in 2012 and look like feckless McCain?

It’s all so muddled, like Perry’s brain and Newt’s organization skills.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Good post Ed.

Ed, can you try to get a statement from the head of the VA GOP, instead of this smattering of denials from lower-level people? It would do the blogosphere a service in trying to sort this out….
cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Agree. This would be helpful.

conservative pilgrim on December 28, 2011 at 9:16 AM

how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

It’s not a race for school board. The nominee, whomever it is, will have lots of help.

BTW, none of the candidates — NOT A ONE — has come close to the catastrophic disorganization of the McCain campaign in 2007/8. Yeah, no ballot access problems, but multiple rounds of staff firings, wild overspending, no message, impromptu campaign suspensions, and attacking the VP nominee in the press a month before the campaign was over.

Robert_Paulson on December 28, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I question who has more egg on their face. Gingrich and Perry who submitted the requisite number of signatures or the Virginia GOP that has only Romney or Paul on their ballot.

Either the VA GOP is incompetent or is in bed with the Romney campaign. That makes them look stupid.

Rio2010 on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Ed, you conveniently ignore that the rules changed this November. To say that there is nothing wrong with changing the rules in the middle of the game is to have a very odd ethic.

boone on December 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM

To believe in one questionable and unverified source from some guy named Moe Lane off Redstate, is also very gullible, or perhaps it’s believing only what you want to believe.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

To believe in one questionable and unverified source from some guy named Moe Lane off Redstate, is also very gullible, or perhaps it’s believing only what you want to believe.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Given that HotAir reported it, and I haven’t seen anyone on HotAir or any other columnist refute the assertion, it stands to reason that it’s been uncontested.

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Nothing about this election cycle feels normal. The 2008 election felt like a quick kick to the stomach. McCain? Really? And, now all of this. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

I gotta get some more aluminum foil and start folding hats…

Fallon on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Ed, you conveniently ignore that the rules changed this November. To say that there is nothing wrong with changing the rules in the middle of the game is to have a very odd ethic.

boone on December 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM

This certainly isn’t going to help Romney get over the base’s belief that he is being forced down our throat by “the establishment”. I, for one, don’t believe in a monolithic establishment that can make Romney our nominee. I do however believe in the ability of influential people to help a candidate. In this case, it stinks of people in VA going out of their way to help Romney.

Even if Romney actually had nothing to do with this, I think it will backfire on him if he is the nominee and these other candidates are not on the ballot in VA.

Monkeytoe on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Ed, you conveniently ignore that the rules changed this November. To say that there is nothing wrong with changing the rules in the middle of the game is to have a very odd ethic.
boone on December 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM

To believe in one questionable and unverified source from some guy named Moe Lane off Redstate, is also very gullible, or perhaps it’s believing only what you want to believe.
haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

“But…but..but Moe’s conspiracy theories are all I got!”

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

When did conservatives start supporting whiners of victimhood?

The rules are the rules, and they weren’t created yesterday.

Had Perry and Gingrich gotten on the ballot and Romney failed, the same posters here would be lambasting Romney for not living up to his competency moniker.

Now that it is the other way, all of sudden, the rules are too harsh and restrictive.

Perry and Gingrich phucked up. Stop acting like liberals and whining about difficult rules just because the guy you supported didn’t have the competence to do something that many others have.

Whining conservatives are worse than whining liberals.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

There is a lot of stuff already out there, some are in denial. This bulletin alone dated May 2011 shows that 10K valid signatures were needed and urged candidates to get 15K. A

A professional campaign pays attention to this and covers it bases.

http://tiny.cc/poum4

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

swamp_yankee, that link does not help at all. The bulletin says nothing about whether/when there was a change regarding the actual checking of signatures. People keep posting it, but it doesn’t address my point.

Again, I would like to know whether any official statement was issued on whether signatures would actually be checked if under 15,000 signatures were submitted, and if so, when the campaigns were informed. This has direct bearing on whether Perry and Gingrich have an excuse.

Until we can get something official, were all just talking in circles.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Conspiracy theories drive me nuts.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Yes, let’s be “fair” and “grown-up” and ignore all those history-based “conspiracy theories.”

After all, it’s just a coincidence that Osama Obama’s opponents in IL elections had qualifying signatures thrown out before the elections, isn’t it?

But this is the Ed Morrissey Way: ignore anything that qualifies as Bad Optics…even if it’s true. We have to be nice, even if it costs us elections or, worse, some of our freedoms.

Of course if Ricky Santorum or T-Paw had not qualified for any primaries, the reaction might be a little different. When The Newt or Perry fail in any way, that’s okay because it doesn’t hurt the RINO movement or say anything bad about the current regime.

MrScribbler on December 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Even if Romney actually had nothing to do with this, I think it will backfire on him if he is the nominee and these other candidates are not on the ballot in VA.

Monkeytoe on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

So it backfires on Romney that he does his due diligence and his opponents doesn’t? jeez, the guy can’t win. If he is on the ball, its a negative. If his opponents can’t follow simple rules, then its also somehow a negative on Romney. Maybe romney should just phuck up like perry and gingrich, would that make you look favorably upon him then?

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Presumably, if one of them wins the nomination, there will be assistance from nationally experienced people.

herm2416 on December 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Well, I hope he has help from a nationally experienced person when the 3am phone call comes in.

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Agree flora

cmsinaz on December 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Of course if Ricky Santorum or T-Paw had not qualified for any primaries, the reaction might be a little different. When The Newt or Perry fail in any way, that’s okay because it doesn’t hurt the RINO movement or say anything bad about the current regime.

MrScribbler on December 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Santorum, Bachmann and Huntsman also did not qualify for the VA ballot.

Take off the tinfoil. Newt and Perry did it to themselves.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

When it comes to due diligence, the state law should not have been amended during the petition process. That’s changing the rules in the middle of the game. If a campaign contacts the state elections board to ask about signatures, and is given one figure one day, only to have that change the next day and not be informed about the change, then is that on the campaign, or is that on the election board?

It would seem to me that’s on the election board. Or are Perry and Gingrich supposed to have staffers who check for updates to election law in every state every day?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

This is what I would like to get to the bottom of. Was there a change, and if so, when?

If a store advertises a widget on a website for $50, and I leave home with $50 in my pocket, and I drive 1 hour to get to the store but get there and say that 30 minutes ago they issued a retraction on the web that the price was actually $75, do they have a responsibility to sell me the item for $50? And is it my fault if they don’t take cash – only credit?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Permit me to re-emphasize what Ed cited in his update:

Must be signed by not less than 10,000 qualified voters in Virginia, including at least 400 qualified voters from each of Virginia’s eleven congressional districts, who attest that they intend to participate in the primary of the same political party as the candidate named on the petition.
Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 – 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district.
Must provide the true signature, the printed full name and the full resident address of each qualified voter and the date each signed the petition.

Now Ed, were the campaigns ever informed by the election board as to a change in the requirements, raising it to 15,000 (not a recommendation, a requirement), or were the rules changed and then the state board never bothered to inform the campaigns?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

By way of example, the conspiracy theory is based on this logic:

Tax law and rules about deduction A are unchanged. State is sometimes lax in enforcing deduction A. State get sued for being lax in enforcing deduction A and decided to enforce the law. Presidential Candidate B gets caught. Whines and sues based on the defense – well you didnt always enforce this in the past!

Someone running for president should follows the law and not rely on lax enforcement.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

IMHO, they should accept it and move on, vowing to be more diligent in the future.

Flora Duh on December 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I wonder if after an Iranian nuke goes off in Israel that Perry or Gingrich will promise to be more diligent in the future?

I believe that there is no excuse for missing the deadline.

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

+ 1 million internet points. Personal responsibility only seems to apply in limited circumstances apparently.

peachaeo on December 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

I haven’t seen anyone on HotAir or any other columnist refute the assertion, it stands to reason that it’s been uncontested.
Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 AM

If you scroll up you’ll see the nutty conspiracy theory has already been thoroughly debunked. Quite a few times hereabouts, in fact.

Also, just the fact alone that even Perry will have nothing to do with the conspiracy theory – having rejected it from even his own lawsuit – should tell you something. If it were real, it would be in his legal pleading – if not form the entire base of it.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

This is what I would like to get to the bottom of. Was there a change, and if so, when?

If a store advertises a widget on a website for $50, and I leave home with $50 in my pocket, and I drive 1 hour to get to the store but get there and say that 30 minutes ago they issued a retraction on the web that the price was actually $75, do they have a responsibility to sell me the item for $50? And is it my fault if they don’t take cash – only credit?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Um, candidates aren’t customers. If you’re running for office, one way of demonstrating competence is that you hire people who make sure phuckups don’t happen.

You don’t depend on other parties or blame them when sh1t hits the fan. Because guess what, when you’re President, you have to be on top of the ball.

They aren’t little kids. Blaming others is the trademark of incompetents.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Now Ed, were the campaigns ever informed by the election board as to a change in the requirements, raising it to 15,000 (not a recommendation, a requirement), or were the rules changed and then the state board never bothered to inform the campaigns?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

15K is not a “requirement”. The standard and rules have always states that candidates need 10,000 qualified signatures.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

You know we have a great campaigner in the WH at the moment and you can see what that got us. Being able to campaign does not equate with competence as a leader. Campaign details are for staffers. You remember another super leader in the WH name Jimmah Carter who spent his days micromanaging and counting pencils in the desk drawers of staff. Newt and Perry are more focused on issues and unlike Romney, who merely wants to BE prez, Newt and Perry seem like they wish to accomplish something.

kenny on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Ed, can you try to get a statement from the head of the VA GOP, instead of this smattering of denials from lower-level people? It would do the blogosphere a service in trying to sort this out….

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM

THIS! +1000!

Instead of quoting swamp_yankee, an ardent Mittbot and probable paid shill, can we get these questions answered?

- How many signatures were submitted to the VA GOP by each of the campaigns?

- Which campaign’s signatures were checked and which ones were not?

- Were the rules or the mode of implementation changed this November or not?

- How many signatures were deemed invalid for the Perry and Gingrich campaigns?

- Since reports/rumors indicate Mitt’s signatures were not checked, how can we tell whether or not he is simply using his 2008 list?

Answers to these questions for starters will help commenters to use facts in their arguments rather than rumors.

And, Ed, don’t you find it a bit strange that we still do not have concrete answers to these questions from the media and the VA GOP since the story broke? Some of the ‘facts’ being used were disseminated via Twitter, for heaven’s sake.

Is this what journalism has been reduced to? Conjecture based on rumors all the time – and not facts that should be easy to obtain?

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Well, don’t they look swell with all that egg on their faces?

scalleywag on December 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Do you whine to the police when you get pulled over for speeding that the car before you was going just as fast as you? or that you’ve gone 15mph over the speed limit on this road for years and never got ticketed before?

The party of law and order suddenly feels the need to ignore the law. Look, I agree this election law that Virginia has is stupid and restrictive, but there are means of changing that legitimately, instead of making a farce out of our legal system.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:35 AM

These conspiracy theories about the Virginia rules being suddenly changed in the middle of a dark night in the forest in mid-November with no notice to anyone are both comical and nonsensical.

If the rule changes were really so drastic and hidden, then how did Paul and Romney meet the rules for ballot access in the primary? At least Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman lacked funds, which stymied them, but they are not filing lawsuits or whining.

Due Diligence includes the concept of “knew or should have known” in law. Newt the Hoot and Jethro Perry, or their advisors, either knew the rules or should have known the rules. If they didn’t, then there are consequences.

Governor Goof-Up Perry apparently didn’t even start collecting signatures until October 31 and Newt Hootie was more involved in sailing the Greek Isles than the on the ground campaign slogging.

Waaah! Waaah! Waaah! It’s not fair! Having people sign a piece of paper is hard! Boo, hoo, hoo. What a couple of clowns.

Also, I went and ordered my Perry/Cheetah t-shirt before the bad news about Cheetah today. Guess I should whine, too. Wacka-Wacka!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:35 AM

15K is not a “requirement”. The standard and rules have always states that candidates need 10,000 qualified signatures.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

According to what I’ve read, the requirement was changed in November of this year (meaning the notice is irrelevant since it was in March) to raise the qualified signatures to 15,000 in November. That was from an article put out by Moe Lane of RedState and linked to from HotAir.

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Those are my questions also, and with everything I’ve read, I’m still scratching my head on this.

lynncgb on December 28, 2011 at 9:36 AM

You know we have a great campaigner in the WH at the moment and you can see what that got us. Being able to campaign does not equate with competence as a leader. Campaign details are for staffers. You remember another super leader in the WH name Jimmah Carter who spent his days micromanaging and counting pencils in the desk drawers of staff. Newt and Perry are more focused on issues and unlike Romney, who merely wants to BE prez, Newt and Perry seem like they wish to accomplish something.

kenny on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

If your point is that Obama is a terrible president because he has instituted great liberal changes, then your point is moot as it means he’s been a great LIBERAL president, which presumably is what LIBERALS wanted when THEY elected him. So I guess campaigning skills does translate to effectiveness huh?

Unless your point was that Obama hasn’t been effective on the liberal front, in which case, you wouldn’t mind him much.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:36 AM

If I didn’t know better I might think that the “Establishment” is at work ensuring a Romney nomination. Naw, that can’t be it. No way. That’s crazy talk…

HiJack on December 28, 2011 at 9:36 AM

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM

You realize to support the alternative less stringent rules that Gingrich and Perry are now seeking means your asking for theVirginia Republican standard for ballot petition signature veracity to be more along the lines of ACORN? Not exactly the lofty goal you want your candidate to be striving for, especially given the current fight with Holder’s Justice Department over efforts to tighten rules to prevent voter fraud.

jon1979 on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Presidential candidates don’t do this themselves, of course; they hire a staff to handle these basic functions, and the performance of their staff becomes a test of the candidate’s competence and executive performance.

This was Odumbo’s ONLY accomplishment prior to taking office, do we really want to use this bell weather to judge presidential materal? God help us.

skanter on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

15K is not a “requirement”. The standard and rules have always states that candidates need 10,000 qualified signatures.

swamp_yankee on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Since you appear to be a paid shill for the Romney campaign, we challenge him to submit his signatures for the same ‘validation’ that Perry and Gingrich went through.

Is Romney scared to do that?

Until he does that, quit with the ‘Romney is competent’ baloney.

He is competent alright – competent at gaming the rules or having them changed to benefit him.

For all we know, he simply re-submitted his 2008 list.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Moe Lane – the Cadillac Standard for Virginia GOP Primary Ballot Access Rules analysis and interpretation.

I guess the game is up!

LOL! ROTF! Oh my, oh my!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Actually, let me respecify, swampyankee, since that was sloppy. Here’s what I believe to actually be the case. Correct me if my impression is wrong:

Previous rules:
—————
- 10,000 signatures required to make it on ballot
- Once you have 10,000 signatures, those signatures cannot be challenged

Current rules:
————-
- 10,000 signatures required to make it on ballot
- Once you have 15,000 signatures, those signatures cannot be challenged. Between 10 and 15k however, you can challenge signatures in which case an exact match is required — e.g., Ronald W. Reagan vs Ronald Reagan would not match, and ergo be tossed

Is that correct?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

What’s stood out for me in this whole fiasco is the utter stupidity of the whole process. Running around getting signatures seems a pretty futile way to run an election. And it does “disenfranchise” candidates. This seems more like a fan club attempt that actually putting a name on a ballot. “Ooooooh, my candidate is so dreamy….we got 50,000 signatures.”

I think once someone has made a national announcement that they are running for President of the United States, participated in (?) debates and had good and bad press they are pretty much running for office and should be on the ballot. I don’t know what other mechanisms should be used, but this X number of signatures from X number of districts on xyz form just sounds like bureaucratic horse droppings. On second thought….perfect for candidates who plan to keep the status quo.

texabama on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Oh great….here we go again with the super duper, extra secret conspiracy of evil GOP establishment types sitting around in smoke filled rooms plotting against the most incompetent candidates in the GOP primary.

Lets just ignore what a stumbling bumbling boob Perry is and that Gingrich is enamored with himself. WHY would anyone spend the time with these elaborate plans when the fools are screwing themselves over with unforced errors?

When the worshipers start making excuses for the glaring weaknesses of these two boobs, it becomes very easy for them to start making accusations of conspiracies. This is why the Perry and Gingrich worshipers are becoming indistinguishable from the St Palin the Victimized worshipers.

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Instead of quoting swamp_yankee
TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Actually, Ed’s quoting the VA Republican Party’s March 2011 official instructions to the candidates.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

“Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 – 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district.”

I understand the theoretical reason for recommending 15k -20k signatures — upon checking, a large percentage signatures might be determined to be invalid for one reason or another of not conforming to all the rules set forth by statute.

What I don’t understand is why the above recommendation is based on a fact that many people are not registered to vote. Not being registered is not a valid reason to reject the signature. Further, not having the capability to verify whether it is valid or not is not a valid reason to reject it. As such, the stated reason is not a valid reason for recommending a candidate get 15k+ signatures.

WTH?!?

Dusty on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Sidenote: would Ed or someone else at HotAir please put up something explicit regarding the claims of Moe Lane? Are they true or are they bunk?

Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

So it backfires on Romney that he does his due diligence and his opponents doesn’t? jeez, the guy can’t win. If he is on the ball, its a negative. If his opponents can’t follow simple rules, then its also somehow a negative on Romney. Maybe romney should just phuck up like perry and gingrich, would that make you look favorably upon him then?

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

It’s actually the perception that Romney has a “by the book” overall political philosophy that is a problem for many people. With the challenges we face and the radical conservative solutions that are required, many conservatives are wondering if his approach to governance will improve or change anything coming out of Washington in a substantive way, assuming he’s elected.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Here are the FACTS:

1. Ron Paul has been running for President since 1987.

2. Romney’s father George was Governor of Michigan and ran for President.

3. Romney’s already run for President as well.

4. These two including one candidates father have lost in the PRIMARIES many times over establishing The Truth that no one wants either of them.

5. For all his endorsements, you cannot get a plurality of this Party to think Romney would be like voting for McCain, you have to plug your nose to consider it.

6. By Ed’s post standards he shouldn’t expect much regarding his hopes for Rick Santorum because he didn’t make the ballot either.

7. Conventional wisdom, from the likes of T. Sowell, says we have libertarian voters for Paul, squishy moderates for Mitt, and the others have to split the Conservative vote. I think the idea that they’ll get signatures from folks giving signatures to EVERYONE is a little much.

8. This site has turned into the most Moderate squish promoting blog if ever I saw one. With what Ed posted, then speaking favorably about Santorum, makes me wonder if he gets a list of post idea requirements from Townhall and a bonus paymenr for everyone he hits… Whether he believes what he writes or not.

Sultry Beauty on December 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM

This was Odumbo’s ONLY accomplishment prior to taking office, do we really want to use this bell weather to judge presidential materal? God help us.

skanter on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Do you consider Obama effective on the liberal front? If so, then I guess campaigning does show how effective a president will be.

If you think Obama has not been an effective liberal president, then I guess you don’t have much problems with him in office either.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Yeah, the guy who established the beach head for socialized medicine, signed gun control into law, donated money to Planned Homicide and buys into man made global warning is the competent one. Competent in the way Ted Kennedy was competent.

Sanatorium is not going to be the nominee, so this hit piece on the supposed lack of competence of Perry and Newt is essentially just pro Romney.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Not exactly the lofty goal you want your candidate to be striving for, especially given the current fight with Holder’s Justice Department over efforts to tighten rules to prevent voter fraud.

jon1979 on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Every Tom, Dick, or Harry that meets the constitutional requirements to be on a ballot for election should be on it, period!

You cannot equate asking for ballot access requirements to be made easy enough to the fight against voter fraud – ensuring voters are who they say they are.

This is another attempt by the shamed Romney/VA GOP and shills to muddy the waters.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM

When did Virginia become Waterloo (tired of Pearl Harbor).

One state out of 57. But by all means pretend it is the end of the world and that this is good for RuPaul.

CorporatePiggy on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Another analogy:

At 11 p.m. on Christmas night (true story here), I left my brother’s house for a long, dark drive across state to return home. I had two $50 bills in my pocket and a nearly maxed credit card. Before getting on the interstate, I realized my fuel was low. (I had a fever and was tired and forgot to check before leaving his town to get to the interstate.)

There was only one gas station open that late on Dec. 25, and it would take $80 to fill my tank. I went to the attendant and he refused to sell me any gas, on the grounds that he was not allowed to accept $50 bills after dark. I then offered to buy just $50, and to accept no change. The attendant got quite upset and defensive and said he would be fired if he took my money. Just on principle, I read off the bills, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public or private.” The attendant got more upset and refused to budge. He said that his boss’ rules were the rules.

I explained that I would be stranded, far from home, on Christmas night, and this is what the boss’ rules would do to me. The attendant told me that it was my fault for not bringing smaller bills.

I ended up having to break my credit limit and incurred a $35 overdraft fee, just to get home. Had the employee been willing to call the boss and ask for an exception, do you think that the boss would have been violating the spirit of the rule by making one, when I had cash in hand?

At what point do you go with “letter of the law” vs. “spirit of the law?” And – what is the spirit of the VA law? Do deny ballot access or to weed out joke candidates for president?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM

I won’t “endorse” anyone, but right now I’m rooting for an unexpectedly good Iowa outcome for Rick Santorum. Just found out I’ll miss the MN caucuses, too, because of CPAC.

Ed Morrissey on December 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM

So what’s Rick Santorum’s excuse for not filing any signatures? Did he fail the “competence primary” too?

Good grief.

kg598301 on December 28, 2011 at 9:43 AM

It’s actually the perception that Romney has a “by the book” overall political philosophy that is a problem for many people. With the challenges we face and the radical conservative solutions that are required, many conservatives are wondering if his approach to governance will improve or change anything coming out of Washington in a substantive way, assuming he’s elected.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Radical conservative solution is an oxymoron.

Maybe you and others who have this urge for radical barn-burning action need to rethink whether you’re actually a conservative.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM

OK, call it the “competency primary”. Only the two who are perennial candidates were “organized” enough to make the cut. Romney or Paul? Turnout should be through the roof!

cartooner on December 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I guess now Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only candidates to EVER qualify for the super duper stringent VA ballot rules!

Does it actually surprise anyone that Rick Icantcountto3 Perry and Newt Itakeavacationwhilemystaffleaves Gingrich did not qualify? Does it really take a conspiracy for these two incompetents to reveal their incompetency?

Was Perry’s debate flubs also a conspiracy by the establishment? Was Newt’s Imfannieandfreddie’s historian claim also an establishment conspiracy?

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:46 AM

texbama

So your solution is that all I have to do is make a national announcement that I am running for President, say a post on Hot Gas, and I get on all the primary ballots? Cool! Then I can just sit on my butt like Jethro Perry and Newtie Hootie and still run.

Stoic Patriot

I don’t know for sure about his claims, but Moe Lane is bunk, so connect the dots.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

If your point is that Obama is a terrible president because he has instituted great liberal changes, then your point is moot as it means he’s been a great LIBERAL president, which presumably is what LIBERALS wanted when THEY elected him. So I guess campaigning skills does translate to effectiveness huh?

Liberal change? Is that what wreckage is called. The only skill I see demonstrated by Caligula is his ability to lie with ease and without any eye movement showing that it is an acquired habit.

kenny on December 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I think once someone has made a national announcement that they are running for President of the United States, participated in (?) debates and had good and bad press they are pretty much running for office and should be on the ballot. I don’t know what other mechanisms should be used, but this X number of signatures from X number of districts on xyz form just sounds like bureaucratic horse droppings. On second thought….perfect for candidates who plan to keep the status quo.

texabama on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

That’s a recipe for ballot chaos. Anyone could declare to be a member of any party and get on the ballot with the requisite (R) or (D) next to their name, despite what the truth might be. The current party approved vetting process of petitions whittles that down to serious candidates using an open and democratic procedure.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

So what’s Rick Santorum’s excuse for not filing any signatures? Did he fail the “competence primary” too?

Good grief.

kg598301 on December 28, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Yes, he did fail the competency test and he knows thats not his strength. Do you hear Santorum whining?

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Sidenote: would Ed or someone else at HotAir please put up something explicit regarding the claims of Moe Lane? Are they true or are they bunk?
Stoic Patriot on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

You also need something explicit on how 9-11 was/wasn’t an inside job committed by the nefariousness Learned Elders Of Zion and Bushco? Although you note looneytune conspiracies, you don’t give the kooks who invent them the attention.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

I think once someone has made a national announcement that they are running for President of the United States, participated in (?) debates and had good and bad press they are pretty much running for office and should be on the ballot. I don’t know what other mechanisms should be used, but this X number of signatures from X number of districts on xyz form just sounds like bureaucratic horse droppings. On second thought….perfect for candidates who plan to keep the status quo.

texabama on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

It’s also good for keeping nuisance cadidates off the ballot. If it were easy to get on a ballot then there would be 50 people running in every state, each apepaling to very narrow constituencies and some getting on just to make mischief. It would have been easy this year for a Donald Trump to run and get on every state’s ballot just by claiming he is a national figure and had money to run a national campaign. The states are entitled to determine if candidates are really serious and have some semblance of support around the state from real voters before allowing them on the ballot.

I have a friend who has been collecting signatures in Virginia for Romney since August. His campaign knew the rules and had plenty of supporters willing to sign and to collect other signatures. Newt’s been living in the state for 12 years and he apparently had neither.

rockmom on December 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Just remember, we’re not electing a president, we’re electing an administration. A candidate surrounded by incompetent people will give those incompetent peopel positions of power and authority when elected.

PackerBronco on December 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Actually, Ed’s quoting the VA Republican Party’s March 2011 official instructions to the candidates.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Since Ed is quoting a VA GOP publication, is it too much to ask him to reel off an email requesting the VA GOP address some of the questions I raised in my comment @ 9:33am? And some of the issues raised by Moe Lane of RedState?

I take strong exception to any campaign being labelled incompetent when the said requirements managed to only qualify 2 out of 7 candidates? Why are we not seeing the same problems replicated in the other 49 states?

The VA GOP Establishment are a bunch of crooks.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

To argue that significantly greater lobbyist funded money raising by Romney = executive competence simply isn’t true. It simply means that Romeny raised more money enabling a greater organization to be put in place.

There may be an argument to be made about executive competence, but I am not convinced this is it given the substantial difference in fund raising between Gingrich and Romney. Perry has a weaker case, though.

Secondly, Ed’s article doesn’t address two other key issues raised by Moe Lane and others that indicated that: (a) Virginia changed some of the rules in November of THIS YEAR, and (b) Romney’s signatures have not been validated, the requirement was waived. Given that the number of signatures invalidated from some of the other candidates if true of Romney would put Romney right at or below the 10,000 mark … Note that Romney refuses to submit his tally for validation because of the waiver. This process does not create confidence in the Virginia laws or Romney. Validation for thee, but not for me.

… and if it happened that Romney had too few, then Romney too would be guilty of executive incompetent. In fact, every candidate in the Repub field just about would be. Is that the argument Ed is advancing against the entire Republican field? They potentially are all too incompetent as executives to merit serious consideration?

Or is Ed saying that the other candidates didn’t submit enough fraudulent signatures to quality for a waiver, and as a result they are not competent executives to understand how to game the system at the margins?

I think the ideas in this post are a bit underdeveloped.

PrincetonAl on December 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM

You realize to support the alternative less stringent rules that Gingrich and Perry are now seeking means your asking for theVirginia Republican standard for ballot petition signature veracity to be more along the lines of ACORN? Not exactly the lofty goal you want your candidate to be striving for, especially given the current fight with Holder’s Justice Department over efforts to tighten rules to prevent voter fraud.

jon1979 on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

All the hot air aside, I want to know if there was a change made in manual signature verification and, if so, when. No one seems to be able to dig this up, and this is the core of the issue.

Checking signatures in a batch of 14,999, vs. not checking signatures in a batch of 15,000, looks like a basic invitation to pad petitions with bogus signatures. Not a conspiracy theory.

Is there any official statement from the VA GOP regarding letting possible fraud or error slide by in a batch of 15,000, and not in a batch of 14,999?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

kg598301 on December 28, 2011 at 9:43 AM

My guess is that he had to pick what would be better use of his limited resources and my Super Tuesday it would be too late for him if he doesn’t get some early buzz. Actually a pretty smart move on his part.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

He is competent alright – competent at gaming the rules or having them changed to benefit him.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Hahahahaha!!! Perry and Gingrich can’t even FOLLOW the rules!

But I must say that your tears are yummy!

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

And let’s not forget that Rick Parry has Joe Allbaugh running his campaign, not some nitwit farmer from Podunk, Texas. Allbaugh ran George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 and is known as a super-detail guy. Perry has no excuses for this failure.

rockmom on December 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Liberal change? Is that what wreckage is called. The only skill I see demonstrated by Caligula is his ability to lie with ease and without any eye movement showing that it is an acquired habit.

kenny on December 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

You’re quite slowwitted aren’t you. Obama is a democrat. The fact that you hate him must mean he has been effective in enacting liberal changes.

If you liked him, it would mean he had failed as a liberal president. Just as if Reagan was super popular with liberals, it prob meant he failed as a republican. But since liberals hate him (as you hate obama), it means reagan was quite successful as a republican president.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Lets just elect Obama again…geeez!

Karmi on December 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM

TheRightMan

Every one who meets the constitutional requirements should be on the ballot, period?

I’m over 35 and a naturally-born U.S. citizen, so I get to be on the election ballots
for President this year? Fantastic! Gotta start organizing my tours and collecting donations. “My fellow Americans…”

Actually, I did run for election as a Prosecuting Attorney in 1982. There were party rules for the primary and the general election. I met them. I was elected.

Lucky for me. I could not have afforded one of them high-priced attorneys like Gov. Goof-Up to go find a compliant federal judge for me.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

This is typical behavior from Perry. When he fails to connect, says something stupid or otherwise screws up, he whines and cries foul, then Anita comes out and stands by her man. He want things running the Texas way he’s used to, where his crony machine cleans up his messes. We have someone in the White House like that already. Why would any conservative want to support that?

Fletch54 on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

And let’s not forget that Rick Parry has Joe Allbaugh running his campaign, not some nitwit farmer from Podunk, Texas. Allbaugh ran George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 and is known as a super-detail guy. Perry has no excuses for this failure.

rockmom on December 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM

And you have no excuse for pretending that Perry and Gingrich – who are no novices in politics – simply could not gather 10,000 valid signatures because they are incompetent.

Even if they had gathered 20,000 signatures each, the VA GOP would have found a way to still kick them out. The fix is already in.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

If you want the majority of the country to vote for you, you had better get organized and be able to get 10,000 signatures from a single state. I don’t feel bad for these morons. Obviously, the people in Virginia don’t like them enough to get motivated, sign petitions, and encourage their friends to do the same.

If Newt, Perry, and the likes are expecting sympathy from us, they’re sorely mistaken. Nobody is entitled to be on the ballot – you have to earn it by working hard and convincing enough people that you’re worthy of being a candidate. Obviously, these “candidates” can’t do that which should make them realize that this is (or almost is) the end of the line for them.

Conservative Joe on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

He is competent alright – competent at gaming the rules or having them changed to benefit him.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Hahahahaha!!! Perry and Gingrich can’t even FOLLOW the rules!

But I must say that your tears are yummy!

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

You hateful Romney shills are poisoning the process pretty badly. You are making it harder and harder to fall in line should the liberal Romney be the nominee.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Actually, Ed’s quoting the VA Republican Party’s March 2011 official instructions to the candidates.
whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Since Ed is quoting a VA GOP publication, is it too much to ask him to reel off an email requesting the VA GOP address some of the questions I raised in my comment
TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

If you have “questions”, then you should email the VRP. Or Moe can, if he really wants to try to sell his goofy conspiracy theories.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

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