Judge rejects Perry, GOP hopefuls for Va. ballot

A federal judge today rejected Rick Perry's lawsuit challenging Virginia's ballot requirements, meaning Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be the only major GOP candidates on the ballot.
U.S. District Judge John Gibney said in his ruling that Perry -- along with GOP candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, who all joined in the Texas governor's lawsuit -- waited too long to file the complaint against the state's ballot requirements.
"They knew the rules in Virginia many months ago. ... In essence, they played the game, lost, and then complained that the rules were unfair," Gibney wrote.
With the Virginia primary scheduled for March 6, Gibney said that there isn't enough time for Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum to collect the required 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
"To place the plantiffs on the ballot would deprive Virginia of its rights not only to conduct the primary in an orderly way, but also to insist that the candidates show broad support," Gibney wrote.
The Virginia Board of Elections has said it needs to mail out ballots by Jan. 21 to get them out 45 days before the primary, as required by law.
Gibney said if the lawsuit had been filed in a "timely manner" then the four GOP candidates would probably have won their argument that it is unconstitutional to allow only Virginia residents to circulate the petitions to get candidates on the state ballot.
Perry sued after failing to get the required 10,000 signatures, including 400 from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. Romney and Paul were the only major GOP candidates who met the Virginia requirements, which are considered among the toughest in the country.
Virginia is one of the big prizes among the primaries being held March 6, on what is known as Super Tuesday.

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