Monday, January 2, 2012

The mess in Virginia gets a little more clear

Virginia is in quite a pickle. We currently have an 7 person field for the GOP nomination ticket. Of those seven, Huntsman, Bachmann, and Santorum didn't even try to get on the ticket in Virginia. Two, Perry and Gingrich, failed to get on. One, Paul, had to have his names verified during a 7 hour process. And one person, Romney, didn't even need to have his signatures verified through the more rigorous process. To Romney's credit and his innate thoroughness, he had his staff verify a sample of the names and determined, statistically, that his names would have pass the more rigorous process. He then turned in his list a week early.

Rick Perry then brought a lawsuit against the constitutionality of the ballot process - despite the fact that this is how it has been done for well over 12 years. One day later, he filed an injunction to have the printing of the ballots stopped. Four others have joined Perry in his constitutionality lawsuit: Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, and Santorum. Of those 4, three of them barely even tried to get on. These lawsuits have yet to be resolved.

Then, in steps the Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli. He stated that he would try to ram through legislation that would allow the other candidates the ability to appear on the 2012 primary ballot. This is an interesting move. Ken Cuccinelli will be running for governor of VA in 2013, challenging Bill Bolling. Bill Bolling is a member of Mitt Romney's Virginia leadership team. Bolling, and others, did call out Cuccinelli on this attempted move.

Today and to his credit, Ken Cuccinelli backed away from his statement. He stated:"I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for our statewide elections. However, after working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia’s burdensome system. A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law — something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia’s attorney general."

Yes, perhaps the rules are onerous, particularly in this crowded field. However, I do believe it was almost as crowded last time and everyone was able to make the ballot. To that point, I would have made the argument that last time they didn't as vigorously check the submitted names. But, as it turns out, they did. Romney, Fred, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul all filed over 15,000 signatures each – well above the recommended minimums. ... Then they decided to attempt some kind of unprecedented “verification” process. Historically, forms have never been checked by either party, often they never even open the boxes." -Erick Erickson

Should Virginia reduce its requirements? Perhaps they will for future contests. It certainly does not help them that they will lose the money from the other candidates who will not be airing ads, spending time in their state campaigning, and building the coffers of their own senators and representatives campaigns. Having this 2 person race, out of 7, is the farthest thing Virginia wanted.

Basically, this comes down to organization. As it has been well documented over the past week, Mitt Romney is the most organized, most prepared, hands on guy in the contest. The others may have good ideas and want to be President. But it seems that Mitt Romney is the only one wanting to "earn it".


Ohio JOE said...

"Romney, Fred, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul all filed over 15,000 signatures each – well above the recommended minimums. ..." First thanks for your work on this issue Machtyn, but I believe that in 2008, less than 15, 000 were needed. On a minor note, the VA primary was held post Supper Dupper Tuesday.

Machtyn said...

OJ: That's true. The requirement in 2008 was also 10,000/400 signatures. They actually loosened the requirements this year by stating if you have over 15,000 your signatures didn't go through the more rigorous verification. The RPV determined from past verification that no candidate has failed at greater than 33% at signature verification. I'd have a link for you, but I can't remember where I found this information.

Ohio JOE said...

No need to get a link, I believe you Machtyn. I agree with you that it is wise to get extra signatures to cover the invalid ones and yes 33% is a high rejection rate (unless you are paying somebody like ACORN,) but it seems a stupid rule not to verify signatures. That kind of makes a farce of the whole things.