- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RICHMOND — The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied four Republican candidates’ appeal to appear on Virginia’s presidential primary ballot, leaving former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul as the only candidates to qualify for the election.

A U.S. District Court judge on Friday shot down Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s lawsuit seeking an injunction to place him on the ballot, a ruling he appealed on Sunday. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman Jr. had intervened in the case, although Mr. Huntsman announced this week he was suspending his campaign.

“Movant had every opportunity to challenge the various Virginia ballot requirements at a time when the challenge would not have created the disruption that this last-minute lawsuit has,” a three-judge appellate panel wrote. “Movant’s request contravenes repeated Supreme Court admonitions that federal judicial bodies not upend the orderly progression of state electoral processes at the eleventh hour.”

None of the four Republicans collected the necessary 10,000 signatures — including 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts — to appear on the ballot. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. had said the requirement that petition circulators be Virginia residents would likely be found unconstitutional but not the 10,000 signature requirement.


Mr. Gingrich filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit on Tuesday, but the judges wrote that their ruling “necessarily applies to him as well.”

Mr. Perry had argued that the U.S. District Court in Richmond abused its discretion Friday when it ruled Mr. Perry’s lawsuit was filed unreasonably late in the proceedings.

A lobbying effort has started to allow write-in candidates to appear on the ballot, and Sen. Frank W. Wagner, Virginia Beach Republican, has introduced a bill to that effect. But Gov. Bob McDonnell and legislative leaders have shown little appetite for revisiting the issue for this election, and absentee voting starts on Friday.