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2012 GOP Primary: Joker's wild

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In 2008, both parties staged vivid presidential primaries in Virginia. The Democratic vote drew such large numbers that Chesterfield ran out of ballots. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had no trouble qualifying for ballot lines. The GOP also posted an energetic field. In 2000, Virginia's Republican primary played a crucial role in George Bush's nomination. The ballot included the names of Bush, John McCain and lesser contenders.

Virginia may have difficult rules for securing a place on the ballot, but previous elections suggest the threshold is not insurmountable. In 2000 and 2008 the process did not pose an impediment.

Newt Gingrich and others failed to submit petitions with sufficient legitimate signatures to quality for listing on the GOP's ballot for 2012. Gingrich took the blame for his campaign's failure but also implicitly passed the buck. Gingrich, who lives in Northern Virginia, has vowed to wage a write-in campaign. UVa political analyst Larry Sabato led intelligent observers in noting that Virginia does not count write-ins in primaries. Emergency legislation to help Gingrich would be unfair to the candidates who qualified according to the rules.

Ballot security rates among the GOP's causes. Politico.com noted the irony in whines against tough rules regarding Virginia's nominating petitions.

Gingrich considers himself an accomplished historian; his likening of his Virginia failure to Pearl Harbor is inept, amateur and, of course, an exercise in personal promotion.

Rick Perry, the governor of the Lone Star State, has outdone Gingrich by asking the federal government to intervene on his behalf. His Excellency is said to believe in states' rights.

It is not Virginia's fault that certain candidates failed.

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