Gingrich Campaign Steps Up Efforts to Qualify For Virginia Primary
Today's ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in a statistical tie for first place in the race for their party's nomination. However, voters in Virginia, where Gingrich currently lives, who wish to vote for him in their state's March 6 primary may have difficulty finding his name on the ballot.
The filing deadline for Virginia's presidential primary is Thursday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. Candidates who have not turned in the signatures necessary to qualify by that time will not appear on the ballot. The Gingrich campaign is reportedly struggling to gather signatures and today announced a series of signing drives across the state, with signing stations set up during after work hours. On Wednesday the former Speaker of the House will host a rally in Arlington.
"The challenge for us is to get the popular support organized fast enough- we barely made it in Ohio, we may barely make it Thursday in Virginia," Gingrich told a crowd in Iowa on Monday.
Virginia's qualifying threshold for ballot access in their primary is high. The state board of elections requires 10,000 signatures, 400 from each Congressional district. The Republican Party of Virginia, which tallies the signatures after they've been turned in, recommends a candidate gather 15,000 signatures, 600 from each Congressional district, as some signatures will likely be tossed out.
Earlier this week Mitt Romney announced that his campaign had gathered "some 16,000 signatures."
Sources in the Republican Party of Virginia tell ABC News that the only other candidate they've heard from aside from Romney and Gingrich is Ron Paul, whose campaign also reports crossing the 10,000 signatures mark. So far the party has not heard from the campaigns for Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.