Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign said on Tuesday that it is filing a lawsuit to get on the ballot in the Virginia primary election after state officials announced last week that he failed to turn in the requisite 10,000 signatures.
"Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multicandidate election,” said Perry campaign Communications Director Ray Sullivan in a statement. “We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support."
The Perry campaign maintained that it turned in 11,911 signatures by the deadline when reporters inquired about the state’s announcement that the campaign had fallen short. Newt Gingrich also failed to hand in enough signatures, despite a last-minute push to gather supporters in the state. Only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas have been certified to appear on the ballot in the state’s March 6 primary.
His legal theory is actually somewhat interesting: Virginia law requires signature-gatherers to be registered voters in the state, something Perry apparently ran afoul of even though he otherwise submitted a sufficient number of signatures. In his complaint (PDF), Perry argues that this requirement is unconstitutional. Of course, it's hard to say whether this will succeed—but it's also hard to imagine it will matter much either way, since Perry doesn't look especially likely to stick around until March 6, which is the date of Virginia's primary.