When both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich failed to meet the requirements to appear on the presidential ballot in Virginia, the camps of both candidates claimed a certain degree of victimization. Perry has even filed a lawsuit and an individual activist not associated with Gingrich’s campaign has filed a lawsuit on the former Speaker’s behalf, as well.
Now, it looks like the two candidates are poised to receive help from Virginia’s prominent attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli suggests the ballot controversy is at least as much the fault of the Virginia system as of any of the candidates who missed the mark. He plans to file emergency legislation to allow more candidates to make it on the ballot. Fox News reports:
“Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient,” he said in a statement. “Virginia owes her citizens a better process. We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly.”
Cuccinelli’s proposal is expected to state that if the Virginia Board of Elections certifies that a candidate is receiving federal matching funds, or has qualified to receive them, that candidate will upon request be automatically added to the ballot.
Two former Democratic attorneys general are also backing the move, along with a former Democratic state party chairman and a former Republican state party chairman.
Former state Attorney General Tony Troy called the Virginia process a “legal and constitutional embarrassment.”
Fellow former top Virginia prosecutor Steve Rosenthal said: “This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. If it takes emergency legislation, then we need to do it.”
Virginia’s Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to support the emergency legislation, as well, according to the Fox News article.
Frankly, I agree with Ed: This was a kind of competence primary — and, no matter what happens with this new legislation, it doesn’t reflect well on either Gingrich or Perry that they didn’t attend more closely to detail. Meanwhile, it does make sense to me that Cuccinelli, McDonnell and other prominent Virginians would want to remedy the problem, even if it wasn’t their fault, as the presence of Gingrich and Perry on the ballot will make for a more meaningful primary for Virginia.