Gingrich and Perry fail to qualify for VA primary
Add Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry to the list of GOP presidential candidates who didn't qualify for Virginia's primary ballot.
Previously, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman had come up short.
Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be on the ballot for the March 6 primary.
The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday that Gingrich and Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters required to get their names on the ballot for the March 6 primary.
"After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary," the party announced on Twitter.
The rejection is a significant setback for the Gingrich campaign since he is leading the polls in Virginia among likely Republican voters and is seen as a strong contender for the nomination.
Perry's campaign told state election officials it had submitted 11,911 signatures, and Gingrich's campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures. State party officials spent Friday night validating the signatures.
Earlier Friday, the Republican Party of Virginia certified former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) to appear on the ballot.
The candidates were caught in a vise between devoting most of their resources to early states and needing some of those resources to qualify for ballots down the line. It's not surprising that the two best funded candidates - Romney and Paul - made it on the ballot. Gingrich was penalized for a late start.
Still, Virginia's ballot process is too difficult - especially given that the primary is still 3 months away. The fact that some candidates may be trailing today does not mean their position is set in stone. A lot can happen in three months and Virginia is going to miss out on a good primary contest because of their overly stringent ballot access requirements.