Barack Obama, that’s who.
I had to double check who it was that threw out so many of the signatures submitted by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, disqualifying them both for the Virginia primary in March…the state GOP or the (notorious) Virginia State Board of Elections?
What are required are 10,000 valid signatures, not Adolf Hitler, nor Bozo the Clown as they are trying to allow in the Scott Walker recall petition in Wisconsin, but genuine registered voters.
Gingrich says he submitted over 10,000, while Perry submitted closer to 12,000, of which only about 5000 were allowed. That’s a 60% fail rate! But they didn’t fail because of dead people in East St Louis, or Block House No 20 at the state penitentiary or even the entire Ramirez family in Guadalajara, but real live voting citizens whose addresses have merely changed, and no longer comport with the address given on their registration of file…
…which apparently is a new rule the GOP (or was it the state?) required only this year.
A Gingrich spokesman said it came down like this:
…the problem is how the rules are set up, arguing that the party is, for apparently the first time, cross-checking the addresses that signature-givers gave against the electronic voter database file for accuracies. (Emphasis mine.)
A name without a proper address match was tossed, the official said.
Now, unless the campaigns were given clear instructions, not just on page 33 of the instructions book, but highlighted, with horns blaring, NOW HEAR THIS: THE RULES HAVE CHANGED, SO PAY ATTENTION the GOP sneaked one by them.
You can see why I saw a little Democrat dirty play in all this.
The big news across the wire services, of course, is the embarrassment to Newt Gingrich, which delights the Washington Post. But it was clearly Rick Perry (and conservatism) who was robbed here. For any state of consequence, by this sort of administrative prestidigitation to try to pre-determine the outcome of a primary will put them in the same boat as Iowa should those citizens out there actually go out in nine days and choose Ron Paul as their candidate of choice.
Problem is, we can’t know how many of Paul’s or Romney’s signatures were tossed, since, I’m told, if a candidate submitted over 15,000 signatures, the GOP would not have to go through the validation process. They were “deemed” proper.
Considering that 40% of all Paul supporters are living at home with mom, not registered, can’t read, or in some form of an institution, tells me that what we have here is a failure of due process.
If I were Perry and Newt, I’d sue.
Why does this matter?
Virginia is fairly conservative, but less towards the tea party than to your daddy’s Oldsmobile set of conservatives. Lots of blue-haired old women who still wear fox stoles and Mamie Eisenhower hats with veils, to meet-and-greets with the candidates. Outside of the northeast, more professing conservatives in Virginia think that Mitt Romney is a conservative than all the other states combined.
But while Mitt Romney is surely the big beneficiary of this GOP primary ruling, Barack Obama is by far the biggest winner. In fact, the state GOP may well have handed Obama the state of Virginia in 2012…a state he much covets.
You see, with only those two names on the primary ballot, over half of all Virginia Republicans may stay home, because many have already forsworn never to vote for another McCain-like squish again. This will favor Ron Paul, as a likely plurality will show up to vote for him just to pee in the state GOP’s (and Romney’s Cherrios.) I still haven’t taken that option off the table myself.
But if Virginia should propel Mitt into the general election, I think there is a big chance many Republicans will stay home there as well, thus hurting the GOP down the ticket.
In easy-GOP congressional districts, where their guy is a shoo-in anyway, many conservatives won’t bother. Still others will simply not vote the top of the ticket.
The same goes for the all-important senate vote, putatively between George Allen and Tim Kaine. It could give Kaine the election if enough conservatives believe the state GOP party establishment assisted in keeping a conservative off the ballot.
All in all, I can see as many as 100,000 conservatives not voting for the Republican, and Obama only beat McCain by 270,000 votes.
Bob McDonnell, call your office, too. This may be a thing you need to fix now, since it may tarnish your own image should Mitt then offer you the VEEP’s job…which no self-respecting conservative would accept.
Yep, Perry and Gingrich should sue for two more weeks to fix the deficiencies.