Only two candidates â€” Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney â€” qualified for the Virginia primary ballot, making Virginia a Super Tuesday stepchild in 2012.
On Friday, just four days before the primary, former Virginia attorney general and 2005 GOP gubernatorial nominee Jerry Kilgore put it this way when asked about the looming election: â€œWhat primary?â€ He wasnâ€™t completely joking.
â€œWe didnâ€™t have all the top candidates qualify for the ballot this time,â€ said Kilgore, who had endorsed Tim Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor who has long since dropped out of the GOP presidential field.
President Barack Obama is uncontested in the Democratic contest.
Itâ€™s not that Virginia wonâ€™t make a difference. A Romney win could give him the 46 Republican delegates at stake Tuesday, a much bigger haul than last weekâ€™s Michigan primary. Three other at-large delegates, all Virginia members of the Republican National Committee, have yet to commit to a presidential candidate.
The absence of former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has drained Virginiaâ€™s primary of suspense and interest. Other Republicans who failed to qualify for Virginiaâ€™s ballot and have since washed out of the primary were Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Virginia requires 10,000 signatures of registered voters, including 400 from each of the stateâ€™s 11 congressional districts. But thereâ€™s a twist: state law requires that the petitions be circulated and the signatures collected exclusively by Virginia residents.