After a great deal of speculation, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich filed his paperwork for the Virginia presidential primary with the state's board of elections in time for Thursday's 5 p.m. deadline, although several of his opponents did not.
As of the commonwealth's filing deadline, only four of the seven leading GOP candidates for president filed their paperwork - Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul and former Speaker Gingrich. Senator Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Jon Huntsman did not submit materials to the Virginia State Board of Elections, meaning that the three candidates will not appear on the ballot in Virginia's March 6 primary.
Virginia's qualifying threshold for ballot access in their presidential primary is rigorous. The commonwealth requires that each candidate for president submit at least 10,000 signatures - including 400 from each congressional district - to the state board of elections.
From there, the signatures are turned over to the states' Republican party, which is responsible for tallying and certifying the materials. The state party recommends that candidates submit over 10,000 signatures, as some are likely to be thrown out.
The party must certify all of the submitted signatures by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27.