With only Romney, Paul on Va GOP presidential ballot, contest draws scant interest, enthusiasm

March 5, 2012

By Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Ask a Republican who he likes in Tuesday’s Virginia presidential primary and you might get this response: What primary?

Only two candidates — Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — 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: “What primary?” He wasn’t completely joking.

“We didn’t have all the top candidates qualify for the ballot this time,” 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.

It’s not that Virginia won’t make a difference. A Romney win could give him the 46 Republican delegates at stake Tuesday, a much bigger haul than last week’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 Virginia’s primary of suspense and interest. Other Republicans who failed to qualify for Virginia’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 state’s 11 congressional districts. But there’s a twist: state law requires that the petitions be circulated and the signatures collected exclusively by Virginia residents.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/with-only-romney-paul-on-va-gop-presidential-ballot-contest-draws-scant-interest-enthusiasm/2012/03/04/gIQAL40cqR_story.html?tid=pm_local_pop


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