Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
A Wednesday breakfast attended by the cream of Virginia’s Republican Party apparently won’t substitute for the required 10,000 signatures needed to qualify for this year’s Virginia Presidential Primary. Gingrich had assured the assembled dignitaries, including Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, that he had 12 to 14 thousand signatures granting him a ticket along with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul to the sweepstakes. Apparently, he doesn’t.
The lapse is a bit curious since Gingrich and his wife Callista are long-time McLean, Virginia residents, and are active in all things Northern Virginia including both politics and the community band. Callista plays the French Horn. No word on Newt’s musical talent. (I think he plays the gong.)
Virginia election officials rejected the petition since the required 10,000 signatures were lacking. The move is particularly embarrassing since Gingrich had been privately assuring Virginia Republican Party donors that his organizational troubles stemming from a very public exodus of staff in June were over and it was full steam ahead.
Rick Perry’s petition met the same fate as Newt’s with the numbers lacking. For his part, McDonnell has been mum on his endorsement. Often mentioned as a Republican Vice-Presidential candidate (which he has done nothing to quash), the Governor has been courted, but is yet to pick a horse in the field. With this latest political turn, it’s a better than even bet he won’t be selecting a favorite son candidate.
The news is particularly devastating for Newt who’s been touting his broad appeal among conservative voters beyond Iowa. It seems even paid staffers weren’t enough to canvass the Old Dominion in search of 10,000 signatories, and in Virginia that’s strange.
Once regarded as a reliably red state, Virginia has been trending purple as it propelled Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008 and has elected two moderate Democratic US senators. This latest snafu could be an organizational lapse, or it might be that the winds of changing are blowing in this bellweather state, or it may simply be that the folks who know Newt best aren’t buying.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger