Newt Gingrich Withdraws Virginia Republican Primary Challenge

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Newt Gingrich/Virginia Republican Primary court battle has sputtered to an undramatic end. Gingrich's lawyers filed paperwork with a Virginia federal court on Saturday -- and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday -- indicating that they would be dropping their challenge to place Gingrich on the Virginia Republican Primary ballot.

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only candidates who qualified for the Virginia Republican Primary. Texas Governor Rick Perry sued to have his name added to the ballot in December, and U.S. District Judge John Gibney Jr. granted Gingrich, John Huntsman, and Rick Santorum's motion to intervene.

By the end of January, both Perry and Huntsman had dropped out of the race, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled against the challengers because they had "every opportunity to challenge the various Virginia ballot requirements at a time when the challenge would not have created the disruption."

Virginia requires candidates to collect 10,000 verifiable signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. Gingrich claimed that he hired a Richmond-area firm to manage his ballot petition efforts, but approximately 1,500 of the 11,000 signatures the firm collected appeared to have been signed by the same person, reports The Washington Post.

The latest development in the Newt Gingrich/Virginia Republican Primary challenge is surprising because Virginia is Gingrich's home state, and he had an early lead in the polls there. Now, he has relinquished any hope of winning the Commonwealth's 49 delegates.

Politico reports that Gingrich's campaign manager, R.C. Hammond, announced via Twitter: "We are encouraged by legislative efforts to give voters a write-in option." The write-in option, however, will not help Gingrich in his 2012 presidential bid; legislation adopting the write-in option does not apply to this year's Virginia Republican primary.

For Newt Gingrich, Virginia would have been an easy state for picking up convention delegates. Does Gingrich's withdrawal from the ballot challenge indicate that his presidential campaign might be winding down?

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