By invalidating the signatures proffered by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and keeping them off the primary ballot, the Republican Party of Virginia has given Mitt Romney a very big Christmas gift. Now, the pundits and political neophytes have taken the party line that the Gingrich and Perry campaigns are to blame for this failure. But are they? In a scenario which would make Tammany Hall blush, the RPV kept off Romney’s biggest challengers. In Chicago, it is all in a days work.
The RPV rule is 10,000 signatures (with 400 from each district) gets scrutiny. If the candidate gets 15,000 signatures (with 600 from each district), there is no scrutiny. Thus, had Gingrich and/or Perry submitted 4,000 bogus names to reach 15,000, there would be no scrutiny. It should be noted that some of these districts are heavily democratic. The odds of finding a GOP voter in these districts are pretty great. Yet somehow, Romney and Ron Paul found these folks: or did they?
It appears Ron Paul did not meet the 15,000 signatures needed to get the waiver but he got certification without any of the signatures verified. We can only assume Mitt Romney got his 15,000+ signatures. As to Perry and Gingrich, their signatures came under heavy scrutiny.
In the Chicago, its not only important how many votes get cast but who does the counting/verifying. Once the signatures get below 10,000, the verification ends and the results are announced. Since it is now a two-man race, the VA primary is now a winner-take-all primary. The winner gets 49 delegates.
Perhaps, the RPV subscribes to the theory that all candidates are equal but some candidates are more equal than others. Perhaps, there is innocence from all concerned. However, I submit if the RPV were to be fair, they could either allow write-in votes or put in a ‘none-of-the-above’ box for voting purposes and keep the delegates proportional. If they fail to take any remedy, then I would say the fix was in for Romney. I am not sure how this will play out in the rest of the nation. If I were Romney, I would push to allow Gingrich and Perry on the ballot. The perception seems to be someone is cheating the voters of Virginia.
That being said, this episode shows there are only 4 legitimate contenders for the GOP nomination. By not submitting any signatures, it is time that Santorum, Bachmann, and Huntsman withdraw from the race. They are wasting our time.
I have one other recommendation for the GOP; stop these open primaries. Only the members of the GOP need to nominate a candidate for POTUS. To make them open is to create too much temptation for non-GOP/non-conservatives to create havoc.
The RPV wants to close the process to some candidates but open the voting for everyone. And you wonder why the GOP is clueless ……
Anyway, Merry Christmas Mitt; enjoy your Pyrrhic victory. I am pretty sure this will resonate very well with the Tea Party folks.