Monday, December 26, 2011

Was Mitt Romney tipped off about changes to the Republican Party of Virginia's ballot rules?

Was the Virginia Republican Party's ballot access fiasco an inside job?

A growing number of bloggers on the right side of the blogosphere are talking about a recent change in the Virginia GOP's method of verifying ballot petition signatures. I'm not going to reproduce or quote their arguments here because that would mean linking to a lot right wing blogs I don't want to link to. Let me summarize.

The long and the short of it is that the Republican Party of Virginia supposedly changed its own internal rules for validating signatures in November 2011, but didn't go out of its way to notify all the various campaigns. The Virginia law in question is an unusual one in that it sets a minimum number of valid signatures that must be gathered, but it delegates the task of counting and validating those signatures to the respective parties: Republicans count signatures for Republicans and Democrats for Democrats. That gives each party a great deal of latitude when it comes to accepting candidates for its own primary ballot.

Until quite recently, the GOP apparently only made the most cursory inquiry into the validity of individual signatures, but in November 2011, a decision was made to examine signatures much more closely, unless a candidate submitted 15,000 signatures--as opposed to the 10,000 minimum.

The question is, did someone within the RPV tip off the Romney campaign, but not the other campaigns?

The assumption here is that Ron Paul would have gotten his 15,000 signatures in any case because he has such an energized volunteer base. Because of this, Ron Paul seems to be getting a "pass" from righty bloggers.

No, the question seems to be whether Romney--as the establishment GOP candidate--was tipped off by someone in the RPV "establishment," while the campaigns of movement conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry were kept in the dark. So some are now asking, was the Virginia Republican Party's ballot access fiasco an inside job?


James Young said...

I'm not thrilled about Romney, but the fact of the matter is that a marginally organized campaign would be well aware of the goings-on in each state. I'm not making excuses for the campaigns that didn't make the Virginia ballot, but neither am I going to impute conspiracy where there was none.

Lioness7 said...

I appeal to the Republican party to at least allow write-ins for Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. This seem fair to me.

Jill said...

I don't believe Romney was tipped off. First, the Virginia Board of Elections made their ballot access requirements known as early as May, and included a recommendation that a minimum of 15,000 signatures be gathered. Any candidate who wanted to be assured their place on the ballot should have heeded this recommendation.

Additionally, don't forget that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have both run for president before and therefore have access to HUGE databases of voters to reach out to for signature-gathering. Their job would naturally have been much, much easier than that of candidates who are first-time runners with no "footprint" in Virginia already. That would include Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann & Huntsman.