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Capitol Notes: GOP's Marshall criticizes loyalty oath

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Marshall criticizes Virginia GOP on loyalty oath for primary voters

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, is criticizing the state Republican Party for requiring a loyalty oath in Virginia's March 6 presidential primary. Anyone who wishes to vote in the primary must sign a form pledging to support the party's presidential nominee.

The pledge is unenforceable. No one knows whom a voter casts a ballot for in the general election.

"Ironically, requiring a loyalty oath will bar even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich from voting in the primary because he already has said unequivocally that he will not vote for Ron Paul for president if he's the Republican nominee," Marshall said in a statement.

Gingrich lives in McLean. His presidential campaign did not amass enough signatures to qualify for Virginia's March 6 primary ballot.

Marshall also noted that prominent state GOP officials, including Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Speaker of the House William J. Howell of Stafford County, backed Bill Janis' independent run for Henrico County commonwealth's attorney over Republican nominee Matthew P. Geary.

"Does this make them suspect Republicans?" Marshall asked.

Andrew Cain

Romney adds to Virginia team

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has announced additional members of his campaign's Virginia leadership team. Romney previously had announced Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling as chairman of his Virginia campaign and that Dels. Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover, and Barbara J. Comstock, R-Fairfax, would serve as co-chairs.

Among the new names are five additional co-chairs: Dels. Thomas A. "Tag" Greason, R-Loudoun; David B. Albo, R-Fairfax; Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas; John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake; and Del.-elect Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford.

"Virginia is one of the most business-friendly states in America and these Virginia leaders understand we have to make jobs our number one domestic policy priority," Romney said in a statement.

U.S. Senate hopefuls get set for June primary

Amid the drama over Virginia's Republican presidential primary, the seven contenders for the state's 2012 U.S. Senate nominations are gearing up for a similar challenge — qualifying for the June 12 primary.

Like the presidential hopefuls, the four Republicans and three Democrats vying for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., will need to submit to the State Board of Elections 10,000 valid signatures of Virginia voters, at least 400 from each of the 11 congressional districts.

E.W. Jackson, one of four contenders for the Republican nomination, held a conference call with supporters Dec. 19 geared toward getting on the ballot.

"To be sure that we are on the ballot, we are going to shoot for going way beyond the minimum required," Jackson said in a news release. "We want to collect 800 valid signatures in each district."

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry were disqualified from the state's GOP presidential primary because they didn't have enough valid signatures.

Andrew Cain

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