Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s lawyers filed a motion with a federal appeals court Sunday, seeking to win him a place on the Republican presidential primary ballot in Virginia even though his campaign failed to gather the 10,000 signatures required by state law. The move came after another contender for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich, filed a notice of appeal Saturday of U.S. District Court Judge John Gibney’s ruling Friday that Perry, Gingrich and other candidates who failed to make the cut waited too long to pursue their legal challenges, which were brought as ballot printing was getting underway and the mailing of absentee ballots was about to commence. However, Gibney said Perry and the other candidates would like have prevailed on their claim that a Virginia requirement that ballot petition circulators be Virginia residents violates the Constitution.
In a motion filed at 7 A.M. Sunday with the Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Perry’s legal team argues that it would have been too speculative for them to file suit before Perry failed to make the 10,000 signature threshold last month. Perry asks that his name be placed on the March 6 ballot or, at a minimum, that the printing of ballots be suspended until his lawsuit can be resolved.
Perry “filed this lawsuit on December 27, 2011, the same date the names of candidates qualified to appear on the ballot were scheduled to be certified and just two business days after Defendant Mullins made a preliminary determination and publicly announced Movant did not submit enough petition signatures to qualify to be placed on the ballot. Prior to this date, Movant reasonably expected to meet the requirements of Virginia’s ‘likely…unconstitutional’ election law, and Respondents could not have suffered any injury, as they could not have begun the process of finalizing their ballot orders,” the Texas governor’s lawyers wrote in their motion (posted here).