Former Speaker cannot vote for himself
Newt Gingrich did well with his 12 point win in South Carolina Saturday last and polls in Florida likely means there will be no quick finish to the Republican Presidential Primary even as Mitt Romney did better during this week’s debates.
It’s not getting much media traction yet but a big story is that Newt and Callista Gingrich will not be able to vote for the former Speaker for the nomination as the Republican candidate for President at their local polling station in MacLean Virginia where have been residents for around a decade.
Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified for the Virginia primary ballot.
Despite a lawsuit filed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has since dropped like a stone out of the race claiming Virginia’s primary laws are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled January 13 that no other candidates would be added to the ballot.
This misstep is bad news for Mr. Gingrich on several levels. With Virginia as his adopted home state, failing to gather enough signatures in one’s backyard creates an image problem, at the very least.
“It’s a disaster for him,” said Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. “This sends yet another signal to Republicans that Gingrich is not able to organize.”
Such a lack of organization “suggests you’re not a serious candidate,” Sabato told the New York Times late December before the primaries began.
Gingrich’s campaign director Michael Krull bizarrely compared this to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor which cost more than 2,000 lives describing both as “unexpected setbacks.”
Krull said in a statement at the time: “Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates. We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
Va. Code section 24.2-529 prohibits write-in ballots in primary elections.
This is the second primary ballot Gingrich has failed to make. He missed a deadline in Missouri to appear in their primary vote and scrambled to get on the ballot in Ohio. All important states come November.
So sorry Newt, no delegates for you from the Old Dominion.
“You cannot become the president, much less a Republican president without doing well in the south and we know that Virginia’s going to be a major battleground state,” said WSLS Political Analyst Dr. Bob Denton. “So what’s interesting is this provides at least an opportunity for Romney.” And Ron Paul who is adopting a strategy of collecting delegates as he goes.
Virginia is one of the states where the GOP has adopted a proportional election model for the 2012 primary, meaning if a candidate gets 40 percent of the vote then he gets 40 percent of the delegates. However, and it is a rather big however, if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote and wins all 11 congressional districts, then he would be awarded all 46 delegates in the Commonwealth.
The Republican Party of Virginia, who have been in the headlines over a controversial so-called ‘loyalty pledge’ said Monday that they did not anticipate just two names on the ballot when they implemented the proportional primary model.
The presidential nominee needs 1,144 delegates to win the GOP nod and Virginia has a tad fewer than 5% with 49 delegates.
Dr. Denton rightly goes on to say that being left off the ballot in his ‘new’ home state of Virginia represents a greater problem for the controversial former Speaker.
“There’s never this kind of problem that I can recall and in my memory of people (having problems) getting on the ballot,” he says. “You just need the staff and to follow the rules. Clearly Newt didn’t have the organization or the proper staff to do so.”
So Newt cannot vote for himself and he has just two candidates to choose from; however he stated in December on CNN that he would NOT vote Ron Paul if the Texas congressman won the 2012 GOP nomination.
The question after Florida’s primary Tuesday is whether Mitt Romney and Ron Paul – and their supporters – will use Newt’s “Virginia problem” against him. It would seem obvious that the inability to organize to get on the ballot in the state where you have resided for years– admittedly in Washington D.C.S suburbs, though that might be part of his problem – is pure political gold for your opponents.
Voters in Virginia and nine other Super Tuesday states will cast their ballots March 6.