Amid the growing speculation of Hunts-mentum, the Huntsman campaign was dealt a blow yesterday, when the Arizona Secretary of State’s office announced that the former Utah governor had failed to qualify for the ballot in the state’s February 28 primary.
To qualify for the ballot in Arizona, candidates were required to submit a nomination paper, complete with their notarized, original signature, by 5 p.m. Jan. 9. Huntsman failed to qualify because the nomination paper submitted on his behalf did not include a notarized signature, which rendered it incomplete, according to a letter from Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.
This is the third state in which Huntsman has failed to qualify for the primary ballot. He did not turn in any materials to the Virginia State Board of Elections on Virginia’s Dec. 22 filing deadline. He also failed to submit any of the 3,000 to 5,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the presidential preference ballot in Illinois by the January 6 deadline.
Each of these states have a sizable number of delegates up for grabs; Arizona rewards 29 delegates, Virginia rewards 49, and Illinois has 69 — although all of those 69 delegates are technically unbound going into the convention.
The Huntsman campaign is taking action to get the former ambassador to China on the ballot. In the case of Arizona, Huntsman campaign spokesman Tim Miller told ABC News that the campaign plans to challenge the ruling.
“We filed the paperwork, are challenging the ruling, and expect to make the ballot,” Miller said in an email to ABC News.
In Virginia, Huntsman has signed on to a legal challenge brought forth by the Perry campaign. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have also joined the suit. Today US District Judge John A. Gibney Jr., the judge overseeing the case, issued an order which suggests that the court swill side with the candidates.
“The court finds that there is a strong likelihood that the Court will find the residency requirement for petition circulators to be unconstitutional” the order reads. “For this reason, the Court believes that the plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of succeeding on the merits, at least on the issue of the validity of the residency requirement.”