Perry loses round 1 in Virginia ballot battle
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry lost the first round Thursday in his bid to have his name added to Virginia's Republican presidential primary ballot as a judge scheduled a hearing on the challenge after the ballot is printed.
Perry, who failed last week to obtain the needed signatures to get on the March 6 ballot, sought an emergency court order to have his name added to the two-candidate March 9 primary. By law, the ballots must be printed by Jan. 9.
U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney scheduled a hearing for a preliminary injunction for Jan. 13. He said if Perry prevailed, Virginia might have to do another printing of the ballot, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Perry and Newt Gingrich failed to win a place on the Virginia ballot last week. Both fell short of gathering the required 10,000 signatures of registered voters, with 400 from each of the state's 11 congressional districts.
Perry said "overly burdensome and unconstitutional requirements" prevented him from collecting enough signatures to be certified as a candidate.
He submitted 6,000 signatures on the Dec. 22 deadline. He also challenges the part of Virginia's law that says signatures must be gathered by a state resident, claiming that the requirements "restrict the number of message carriers" and even prevents him from soliciting signatures for his own campaign.
Perry had also asked the court to block the state Board of Elections from drawing names to determine placement on the ballot, but that occurred on Wednesday. He in turn sought the emergency order on Thursday.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul's name will appear above the name of Massachusetts' former governor, Mitt Romney.
At Thursday's hearing, Gibney questioned Perry's attorney on why he brought the challenge in federal instead of state court.
"It looks to me like it's asking the federal government to get involved in state affairs," Gibney said.
One of Perry's attorneys, Joseph M. Nixon, responded that the case "may have national implications."