Scroll down for update.
A few facts about the Virginia primary debacle, courtesy of Just a Conservative Girl and BearingDrift: If a candidate submits 15,000 signatures which include 600 from each congressional district, the signatures aren't verified. That means that neither Ron Paul's nor Mitt Romney's petitions have been scrutinized as have Perry's and Gingrich's.
That sounds like a lousy rule to me. But whether or not you think it makes sense, the rules have been in place since 1999. And even if the process is more difficult than in other states, I can't think of any good excuses for the Perry campaign's sloppy failure to qualify. Even less for Newt, who lives in Virginia and had plenty of time to get organized.
BearingDrift points out that plenty of candidates have managed to get on the ballot in previous primaries:
2008 – Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, John Edwards; Ron Paul, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney.Yeah, wow. Fred Thompson seemed to manage it even in his sleep. He was already out of the race by the time the primary came around so it didn't ultimately matter, and it may not matter this time, either.
2004 – Al Sharpton, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Dick Gephardt, Lyndon Larouche.
2000 – Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, George W. Bush, John McCain, Steve Forbes.
So, apparently, Lyndon Larouche, Al Sharpton, Alan Keyes, Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich ran better organized campaigns for their party nominations than Gingrich and Perry. Wow.
But why did Larry Sabato speculate that the Virginia GOP might "turn a blind eye to problems" with Gingrich's and Perry's petitions? He implied that verification is sometimes a formality instead of a rigorous process. Were some of the above past candidates given a pass? How many of them submitted 15,000 names and thus avoided the scrutiny of verification? Another question: When a candidate submits 15K signatures, does the VA GOP still ascertain that they're properly distributed by district? If not, it's kind of a farce, isn't it?
Fellow Virginia resident Just a Conservative Girl:
Look, getting people to sign these petitions is not easy. I am not saying that it is, but they were only required to get less than barely over one tenth of one percent of qualified voters. But the fact that it is difficult is the reason that an organized campaign is vital. You must have the staff to organize the volunteers. Another thing to remember is Virginia has off-year elections. We had an election last month. Every campaign has access to the information on where the voting locations were and what the past numbers of voters showing up to those locations are. This is low hanging fruit, everyone showing up is a registered voter. I volunteered on election day. I only saw people out for Romney, Newt, and Obama. I asked the other volunteers at the results party that I went to and none of them saw any for any of the other candidates that I listed. I personally signed for Cain, Newt, and Rick Santorum. I wouldn't sign for Romney and was never asked to sign for any other candidate. I am also on the email list for virtually every candidate and was only asked to collect signatures for Romney and Cain.Gateway Pundit wonders whether the fix was in and Moe Lane suggests that Mitt request that his petition be verified just like Perry's and Gingrich's. That will never happen but I'm beginning to see the appeal of a completely blank Virginia ballot.
Newt would like to change the rules because he is unhappy with the results. That is a leftist tactic. I find it abhorrent that Newt is now looking for a way around the rules. While I do feel cheated that I only have two choices on my ballot. The people who cheated me were the candidates themselves.
Update: Just saw this, which seems to change everything. Moe Lane:
One small problem with that: as Winger argues, the rules were allegedly drastically changed. In November of this year.Read the rest. If true, something's really wrong here.
Winger’s article is too long to reproduce here, so I’ll summarize it: prior to the 2012 elections it was Republican party policy in Virginia to simply deem any candidate that brought in ten thousand raw signatures as having met the primary ballot requirements under Virginian state election law. So, for example, Alan Keyes (a popular negative example for people making the ‘any competent campaign’ argument) apparently did not actually have his petitions checked in 2000 and 2008; absent going back and looking at the paperwork (assuming that it even still exists), there’s no way to tell whether he would have survived the scrutiny of 2012. And that’s true of every other candidate who has appeared on the primary ballot in Virginia. None of them qualify for an apples-to-apples comparison – and this remains true no matter how many signatures were collected. If you know that your signatures will not be checked if you get above 10K, you are simply operating in a fundamentally different environment than one where you know that your signatures will be checked.
So what happened? Osborne v. Boyles. On October 24th independent state delegate candidate Michael Osborne filed suit against the Republican party of Virginia (specifically, Fifth District GOP Chairman Brandon Boyles) because of this policy: as the article notes, “the law simply requires that party-affiliated candidates present their petitions to the local party chairman – in this case Boyles – who is responsible for reviewing the petition signatures on their own. It does not dictate how thorough this review must be or give state officials any power to challenge it.” The case is still pending – interestingly, the election that this lawsuit was ostensibly addressing has come and gone – but according to Winger the VA GOP decided in response to bump up from 10K to 15K the threshold for simply deeming the requirements as being met. The complications of it being the day after Christmas makes final confirmation of all of this difficult, but Osborne v. Boyles is an actual case and Richard Winger is one of the go-to guys on the arcane subject of ballot access: what I can check out about this story I have checked out.
Most recent posts here. Twitter feed here. Amazon store here.