RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 31 (UPI) — Virginia’s attorney general is preparing emergency legislation to rectify the lack of candidates who were able to qualify for the state’s Republican primary.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he is intervening in the GOP primary process because only two candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, were able to secure the 10,000 signatures — with a minimum of 400 from each congressional district — to gain access to the March 6 primary, Fox News reported Saturday.
“Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient,” Cuccinelli said in a statement Saturday. “Virginia owes her citizens a better process. We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly.”
Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined a lawsuit filed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry asking the Board of Elections for access to the ballot. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former New Mexico Gov. Jon Huntsman also joined the suit.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell, said: “Virginia’s laws regarding ballot access are well known and have been in place for many years. All candidates seeking to be listed on the Virginia primary ballot in a statewide race have known the requirements well in advance. … It is unfortunate that this year, for whatever reasons, some Republican candidates did not even attempt to make the Virginia ballot, while others fell short of submitting the required number of valid signatures.
“That leaves Virginia voters with only two Republican choices in the March primary, and the governor certainly would have preferred a broader field. He is always open to reviewing how Virginia’s primary system can be improved to provide voters with more choices.”
Two former Democratic attorneys general, a former Democratic state party chairman and a former Republican state party chairman have expressed support for Cuccinelli’s action, Fox News said.
“Virginia’s onerous and restrictive ballot access rules do create serious constitutional problems and undermine the rights of citizens and candidates,” the Perry campaign said.