The Washington Post

Gingrich drops quest to get on Va. ballot

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is giving up on getting his name on the Republican presidential ballot in Virginia next month.

Gingrich’s campaign filed paperwork with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.

A federal judge denied a request last month to add Gingrich and other presidential candidates to the ballot.

U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. indicated that he thought a provision requiring candidates to only use state residents to gather signatures was unconstitutional, but none of the candidates had collected the required 10,000 signatures regardless.

The appellate court also denied appeals to add names to the March 6 Super Tuesday ballot. But Gingrich could have appealed further, asking all judges to review the case or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), Gingrich (Ga.) and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman failed to qualify for the Virginia ballot, and filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections and the state GOP to challenge the qualification rules.

Only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) qualified.

Virginia’s ballot-access rules are considered the toughest in the nation. Candidates must collect 10,000 signatures, with at least 400 from each of the congressional districts.

Gingrich’s campaign told state officials that it had submitted 11,050 signatures. But a Richmond area firm hired to collect them turned in 1,500 signatures that appeared to be signed by the same person.

The House of Delegates passed a bill last week that would allow voters to write in names on primary ballots in Virginia, but it would not pertain to this year’s primary.

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