Dec
31
2011

VA AG Cuccinelli to fix primary ballot mess. [UPDATE]

[FURTHER UPDATE] Drudge is not reporting that Perry/Gringrich are on the ballot; but Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, and Santorum have joined Perry’s lawsuit.

The Attorney General of Virginia “plans to file emergency legislation to address the inability of most Republican presidential candidates to get their names on the ballot;” as everyone reading this already knows, the recent Virginia primary ratification process ended up with only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul getting on the ballot. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry had too many of their signatures invalidated by the process; the other candidates didn’t even try. As I understand the situation, emergency legislation will require a super-majority in the state (well, Commonwealth) legislature; but the fact that Cuccinelli is already getting bipartisan backup (and the reported support of the Governor) suggests that such a thing may be actually achievable.

Particularly since it is becoming increasingly clear that the VA GOP itself is aware that it has mucked up its own primary certification process; frankly, the fact that it apparently violated state election law[*] itself via the hasty enactment of a loyalty oath (such things require ninety days’ notice, you see) should have made that clear. I understand that it may be more, well, satisfying to blame five out of seven Presidential campaigns for this situation; it may be even more satisfying to blame only two out of those seven. But I have to say that actual party officials in Virginia are certainly acting as if the entire thing is their doing; I know that noting that bothers some people, but it’s not exactly my fault.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

[*A reader has pointed out that the Virginia Board of Elections has since decided that the ninety day requirement applies to the party, not to them. These people are entertaining, no?]

6 Comments

  • Norm Leahy says:

    Moe,

    Just a couple of things to consider…the RPV’s loyalty oath, as offensive as that is, was not adopted in violation of state law. They approved its use at the Dec. 3rd party meeting, a few days before the 90 day deadline. The State’s Board of Elections approved it last week. A bad, even creepy thing? Yes. Illegal? Sadly, no.

    And let’s not forget that it was then-Sen Cuccinelli who went to court after the 2005 elections to argue that Virginia primaries should be closed. One of his aims was to stop RINOs from appealing to Democrats and independents in order to beat-back conservative challengers. He’s now pushing against the solution he advocated for six years ago.

    And with LtG. Bill Bolling chairing the statewide Romney effort, and with Ken and Bill going to lock heads over the gubernatorial nomination in 2013, there’s a bit of politics involved.

    The supermajority needed to get an emergency bill through will be tougher than some people think.

    Maybe it can get through the House, though the House majority leader, Kirk Cox, says that won’t happen. But he could probably be convinced otherwise. It then goes to the equally divided Senate.

    The challenge is the equally-divided Senate. To get the supermajority, the bill’s backers will need 12 Democrats to vote with them. Democrats just lost a lawsuit over partisan control of the chamber, so it will be very interesting to see which of them will be willing to help the GOP out of its nasty PR problem. Not impossible. And maybe they will ask for something substantial in return. It’s a budget writing year, so their wish list is very long.

    But it’s just as easy to see them let the Republicans twist as payback. Senate Democratic leadership is not noted for its love of Cuccinelli, particularly caucus leader Don McEachin, who filed the losing lawsuit over partisan control.

    Sorry to go so far into the weeds, but this is the kind of story that gets more complex as it unfolds.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Norm: Hey, thanks for pointing that out about the SBE: I’ve added a link and an update to the relevant posts. As to the politics of it… I suspect that the Democrats (who have been circumventing this rule themselves for a couple of cycles now) may indeed decide to get behind killing it. We’ll see: ain’t state politics grand?

      …Hey, it beats Maryland’s. Over here I just get to see the left fight the far left over everything.

  • […] and a pretty strong reversal from Saturday’s statement. “I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for […]

  • […] and a pretty strong reversal from Saturday’s statement. “I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for […]

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