Two former state political party chairmen are asking for emergency legislation to get more Republican presidential candidates on Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot.
Standing outside the State Capitol, Paul Goldman, the onetime state Democratic Party chairman, and ex-Republican Party chairman Patrick McSweeney called Virginia’s ballot-qualification rules onerous and flawed. They urged lawmakers to change them immediately when they convene Jan. 11 so voters can choose from an array of Republican candidates on Super Tuesday.
Their appeal came the same day that state election officials approved the Virginia GOP’s request for a closed primary – meaning that would-be voters must promise to vote for the eventual Republican presidential nominee in the November election before they’ll be given a primary ballot.
Virginia’s ballot-access requirements for candidates have come under scrutiny after state GOP officials recently determined former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to submit petitions bearing 10,000 valid voter signatures, disqualifying them from the primary ballot.
Of the four Republicans who filed Virginia petitions, only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas made the ballot.
Even as some blame Virginia’s ballot requirements, CNN reported Wednesday that Gingrich told an Iowa voter that his Virginia petition-gathering effort was undermined by a worker who submitted 1,500 false signatures.
Perry has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the validity of Virginia’s primary-qualification statute and on Wednesday asked a court to order that his name appear on the ballot.