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Perry sues to get on Virginia primary ballot

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Rick Perry is taking his fight to get on the Virginia primary ballot to the courts, challenging the constitutionality of the commonwealth’s “onerous” qualification requirements.

Only two of the Republican presidential candidates — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — earned spots on the March 6 primary ballot by Friday’s filing deadline. State law requires a candidate to get 10,000 petition signatures statewide, including a certain number in each of the state’s congressional districts.

In a suit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Perry’s camp argues that the state rules “unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot.”

It cites legal precedent in striking down requirements for “unrealistic numbers of signatures,” and a prohibition on out-of-state petition circulators.

Newt Gingrich’s campaign has also blasted the state rules as part of “a failed system.”

“Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates,” Gingrich campaign manager Michael Krull said in a statement.

Perry’s campaign says it is also asking the Virginia Republican Party to have the Texas governor listed on the ballot.

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