The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

VA Attorney General Cuccinelli On GOP Primary Ballot

Posted on | December 26, 2011 | 24 Comments

by Smitty

Virginia is for politics lovers, and those who love being loved by politics. He has a lengthy email newsletter, which is not a survival guide, but offers some behind the scenes insight on the candidates. Cooch is a Santorum fan, and had the dimmest of faint praise for the Ruling Class Overlord approved GOP front runners.

A Note On The Virginia Ballot
. . .it now appears that the only two candidates that will be on Virginia’s ballot on March 6th: Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Ron Paul. While I’m glad for them, it screams out for making our ballot more accessible.
I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of the candidates and their campaigns in the last month or so, and the Bachmann folks tell me that Virginia is the third hardest ballot access state in the country. I personally don’t think that’s a good thing.
To get on the ballot, a presidential candidate has to collect 10,000 legitimate signatures across Virginia – county by county and city by city – with at least 400 legitimate signatures in each congressional district. Virginia’s State Board of Elections recommends that campaigns come in with over 15,000 signatures, including over 700 from each congressional district given what a high proportion of signatures typically fail some requirement or another.
I would throw out for consideration that we should lower our requirements to 100 legitimate signatures per congressional district.
Let’s face it, absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate, Virginia won’t be nearly as ‘fought over’ as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest. Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad.
I hope our new GOP majorities will fix this problem so that neither party confronts it again. I for one would like Virginia to be heard from in our nomination process, and I’m sure you would too.

I was not aware of a write-in possibility, and had seen contradictory word in the blogs.

That leaves me, as Virginia voter, with a few courses of action, if it truly is the unelectable vs. the tool, and no write-in possibility:

  • Blow the primary off.
  • Vote for the unelectable Ron Paul as an anti-Romney protest.
  • Vote Romney as a test to see if my head ‘splodes.

The interesting context to Cuccinelli’s newsletter is the 2013 VA gubernatorial race, in which Attorney General Cuccinelli is slated to offer a primary challenge to Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. Apparently, a 2009 gentleman’s agreement between Bolling and current Governor Bob McDonnell had Bolling waiting until 2013 to run. Cuccinelli appears to be rocking the boat rather hard in his pursuit of the Governor’s mansion.

Note, too, that Mitt Romney, who stands to lock in Virginia’s delegates at the GOP nomination, as a result of being opposed by Ron “I get my foreign policy ideas from Carter” Paul, has none other than Bill Bolling as his campaign chairman in VA.

Cuccinelli’s note seems to imply that a write-in may be possible for the March 2012 VA primary. I had read the opposite, and replied, requesting clarification. The point being that it does not help the GOP nomination process if the VA situation serves up bad optics. If it looks like “the fix is in for Mitt”, and only the Ron Paul supporters breach loaded the VA process beyond game-ability, who wins?

Cuccinelli concluded the main part of his note with:

There are definitely some good people in this race, but I can’t help hoping that a new conservative candidate gets in the race. Given the schedule, it’s entirely plausible. For a good article on this possibility, check out Virginia’s own Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Quoting Sabato:

But next year, the arrangement of the primary calendar is much different. It is less condensed at the front, much more loaded with events at the back, with the prospect of a viable, late-starting candidate quite real.
This is not to say that it will happen, but simply to note that it could. Such a scenario could not have unfolded in 2008, when the early January events were followed in short order by an early February Super Tuesday vote-fest that involved nearly half the country.
But the elongated layout of the nominating calendar this time provides the opportunity for a late-starting candidate to emerge. Should Mitt Romney stumble badly in the January events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, another establishment Republican could enter the race in early February and still compete directly in states with at least 1,200 of the 2,282 or so GOP delegates. Many of them will be up for grabs after April 1 when statewide winner-take-all is possible.
Similarly, should non-Romney alternatives led by Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry fall flat in the January contests, there would be time for the conservative wing of the party to find a new champion to carry its banner through the bulk of the primary season.

Let’s be blunt. Romney is a tool. The only people who want him as the nominee are the Ruling Class overlords, and Barack Obama, all of whom know that Romney will give great concession speech. Or even should he win the election, Romney Is No Reformer. He will continue to pay lip service to conservative principles, while changing the labels to continue ramming that Progressive projectile in a location where you would prefer liberty. It’s who he is; it’s what he does.

Is there time for conservatives to rebel against the Ruling Class Overlords, and bring in Perry? Bachmann? Santorum? I.e., somebody with legitimate Tea Party appeal? I could still hope for Sarah Palin, but, if she’s mounting an insurgency, she’s keeping it very, very quiet.

Update: linked at Legal Insurrection, who notes:

Romney shoud want to win, but not this way.


24 Responses to “VA Attorney General Cuccinelli On GOP Primary Ballot”

  1. Doug Mataconis
    December 26th, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

    Cuccinelli is wrong. There are two separate provisions of Title 24.2 of the Virginia Code, which covers Election Law, which forbid write-in votes in primary elections. This is not even a close issue.

    I refer the curious to Va. Code Sec. 24.2-644(C) and Va. Code Sec. 24.2-529

    And this is our esteemed Attorney General? What. A. Joke.

  2. smitty
    December 26th, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    I anticipate that he’d argue some weasel-worded context in which he is not referring exactly to the VA code, or something.
    Then again, maybe it’s a good opportunity for him to back off and not try to sound such an ueber-hotshot.
    Still further, it may be a Paulian case of some henchman writing and publishing under his name, without his knowledge.

  3. Doug Mataconis
    December 26th, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I’ll go with Option 3. These “email newsletter” things are nearly always written by staffers

  4. Adjoran
    December 26th, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    Six candidates qualified in 2008.   On the Democratic side, Kucinich qualified.  In 2000, Alan Keyes qualified.  It’s not easy, but it isn’t onerous, either.

    So it’s the “third hardest” state in terms of ballot access – so what?  Some state is always going to be the third hardest, right?  Now it happens to be Virginia.  What will these candidates do when they hit numbers 1 and 2?  Break down in tears?

    Frankly, all the candidates knew the rules.  Gingrich is even a state resident and has been for several years.  Whining that it’s too haaaaaard wah wah wah or that “the establishment did it for Mitt” does nothing for anyone’s credibility.

    Being President involves some tough tasks, too, I’ve heard. 

    Romney is looking better all the time without doing anything.  He’s still the same flawed guy he was before, but he is up against a collection of incompetents.  I had hopes for Perry, even that he might make a comeback after his fumbled entry, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

    Hardly surprising, since the GOP has only nominated a true conservative who was NOT “the next guy in line” one time – Barry Goldwater.

    Romney-haters can take solace in the fact that cleaning up the mess Obama’s made will almost guarantee the next President is also a one-termer.  Cutting spending means cutting federal jobs, and that means more years of high unemployment and lackluster growth. 

    Recessions serve an important economic function by squeezing the excesses out of an economy, increasing productivity and forcing a more efficient allocation of resources.  Obama’s use of TARP funds to buy car companies and stimulus monies to help states avoid cuts of their own have only postponed the squeezing, which still must be done.  The next President will eventually draw the blame for the double dip, even though it is really Obama’s fault.

  5. Anonymous
    December 26th, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

    FYI – The VA AG’s email was referenced in the Virginia Politics Blog as follows:

    Cuccinelli Urges Ballot Change After GOP Presidential Primary Issue

    In the latest edition of his e-newsletter, The Cuccinelli Compass, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli suggests a change in Virginia law to relax requirements for candidates seeking to make the ballot in the state for presidential primaries.

    Virginia requires candidates to obtain 10,000 verified signatures from registered voters across the state, including 400 from each Congressional district.

    Instead, Cuccinelli, who recently announced he will
    seek the governorship in 2013, proposes 100 legitimate signatures per congressional district.

    “Let’s face it; absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate, Virginia won’t be nearly as ‘fought over’ as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest. Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad,” he writes.

    And currently, state law prohibits even the possibility of a write-in challenge.

  6. Michael Gauley
    December 26th, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

    If you decide to vote for Mitt, have Smitty observe from a safe distance. We want an eye witness report on the splosion

  7. just a conservative girl
    December 26th, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

    I know someone who is working for Newt here in VA, and they didn’t make a big push to get the signatures until a month ago.  They knew the rules long before then.  I honestly believe that Newt didn’t expect to the flavor of the month and got caught flatfooted.  The people who are paying the price for that are the VA voters.  

    If Fred Thompson who basically slept through his campaign got on, then obviously it is possible.  

    December 27th, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    Always vote your convenience.
    Vote for the unelectable over the tool, every time.

  9. Finrod Felagund
    December 27th, 2011 @ 12:49 am

    News flash:

    It turns out the Virginia GOP did indeed change the rules, just last month even.  The “there is too much, let me sum up” version is: know how Romney’s signatures aren’t being checked because he got more than 15,000?  Before last month, the Virginia GOP rule was that they didn’t check candidates that got more than 10,000 signatures.

    If this checks out it’s a total gamechanger.

  10. Anonymous
    December 27th, 2011 @ 1:50 am

    On the one hand, I can’t help but get a warm, fuzzy feeling when The Establishment steps on one of its own land mines.

    On the other hand, it would also be fine and dandy if one or more of the excluded Establishmentarians successfully sued to have the minefield deactivated — as long as it applies to independent and third party candidate ballot access matters as well.

  11. Adjoran
    December 27th, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    Wrong – Moe is misinformed.  The change was passed in March and published in May.  The signing period didn’t begin until July. 

  12. Adjoran
    December 27th, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    All this “Republican Establishment” paranoia is ridiculous.  When has the “Republican Establishment” EVER been able to get anything done right?  They screw up even on easy things, and have with stunning consistency ever since Ike led us back into a position to contend for power.

    Apparently, though, the “Republican Establishment” ONLY becomes all-powerful, omnipotent, and ruthlessly efficient when thwarting the dreams of conservatives.  Perhaps that says more about today’s conservatives than about the “Republican Establishment,” ya think? 

    How can we be the ONLY people the “Republican Establishment” can whip again and again and again, leaving us wailing like a widow at the graveside when she realizes the big diamond ring was buried with her husband?

  13. Adjoran
    December 27th, 2011 @ 2:35 am

    Virginia is the “third toughest” for ballot access in the country.  So what?  Someone has to be “third toughest,” don’t they, or should the federal government dictate that too, in the name of uniformity?

    Independents have the same rules, except their signatures are verified by the state election board, so there is no threshold where it doesn’t matter.

    Still, Obama and Romney had people collecting signatures outside the polls in November (VA votes state elections in odd years) when none of the others did – and this was a poll of known registered voters.

  14. Finrod Felagund
    December 27th, 2011 @ 2:50 am

    Even if everything you say is true, it still means that this is the first primary cycle under this new rule, so this year isn’t directly comparable to past years.

    This contradicts what you’ve repeated here numerous times.

  15. ThePaganTemple
    December 27th, 2011 @ 6:48 am

    Everybody says that shit, and none of you know what you’re talking about. You don’t have to fire a bunch of federal employees all at once. Not even a single one. All you have to do is phase them out over a period of eight years and freeze any further hiring.

    You can accomplish that partly through retirements, partly through encouraging early retirements, and yes, partly through lay-offs, but the overall affect on unemployment would be virtually nil. In fact, you don’t even have to freeze hiring all at once, you just take in one new hire for every two or three let go over the eight year period. In the meantime, you make further cuts in funding, which would severely limit what these people do, or can do.

    Then you reform the laws, drop the more onerous and/or unnecessary regulations, which means what employees that are left, which over the years will be far fewer, are not burdened with too much work, most of which they shouldn’t be doing to begin with. And what laws and regulations are kept can mostly be enforced by the states with just a minimum of federal oversight in the case of laws and regulations held in common.

    And there you have it. People make things far more complicated than they need to be. The only thing hard about it would be reforming the federal unions, which is going to be a bitch, but its going to have to be done eventually. It might even necessitate some criminal prosecutions and the impeachment of certain judicial figures, but que sera fucking sera.

  16. ThePaganTemple
    December 27th, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    We’re talking about state officials here, people who’ve been in control of the state and regional party for years. It’s the national party leaders who are the incompetents.  Only their main problem isn’t so much incompetence, it’s craven cowardice.

    I feel compelled to ask you the same thing I asked Smitty a while back. Don’t Republican voters deserve a candidate who runs as a Republican, in the general election as well as the primaries?

  17. Jeremy Zharkov
    December 27th, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    I’m sorry, but if a candidate can’t figure out how to get 10,000 real (not fake) signatures to appear on the ballot, can they really handle running a country?

    Especially amusing that somehow a guy that is constantly dismissed as a “nut” managed to do this.

  18. Anonymous
    December 27th, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    Man, you enjoy your own voice.  Same thing, over & over again.  And never a point that about 1,000 people have not made before you.  Do you work for a living?

  19. SDN
    December 27th, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    Actually, since VA is one of the states specifically required to get Justice Dept pre-clearance (like all states in the South), the fedgov does pretty much dictate election affairs.

  20. » VA ballot madness - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
    December 27th, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    […] A.G. Ken Cuccinelli has a good take on the situation (via Other McCain): . . .it now appears that the only two candidates that will be on Virginia’s ballot on March […]

  21. Marie Culbreth
    December 27th, 2011 @ 10:14 am

    I find it quite interesting that Bill Bolling, the VA lt. governor, is the head of Romney’s campaign in VA.

    Conflict of interest?  Smells of a “fix” IMHO.

  22. smitty
    December 27th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    I have no axe to grind against Bill Bolling, but I should think that he’d be concerned about the appearance of possible impropriety.
    You don’t want it to look like you’re ‘suddenly’ enforcing rules that have heretofore been winked at.

  23. ThePaganTemple
    December 27th, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    Ron Paul for Virginia GOP primary! Gooooo, Booger-Eaters! Get ‘er done!

  24. ThePaganTemple
    December 27th, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

    Yo now a Democrat is looking into helping Gingrich and Perry get on the ballot, but not Santorum, Bachmann or Huitsman because they didn’t try to begin with. This might change things if he’s successful. Might even be a game changer.