Perry Suing to Get on Virginia Ballot

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry isn't taking his rejection from the Virginia primary lying down. The Texas governor has filed a federal lawsuit in a U.S. District court to get on the ballot in the Old Dominion state.

Virginia has some of the toughest ballot restrictions in the country, and Perry is challenging the constitutionality of what his campaign calls such a "restrictive" primary process.

To qualify for the ballot, candidates must get 10 thousand signatures, 400 from each of the 11 Congressional districts, a task Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan calls "unrealistic" because only 119,034 Virginians voted in the 2008 Republican primary.  

Only other two Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, have qualified for the Virginia primary.

"Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election. We believe the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support," claims Sullivan.

Perry is suing members of the Virginia Board of Election and the chair of the Virginia Republican Party. In the suit, he claims that the process violates the 1st and 14th Amendment rights of both voters and candidates, "to meaningfully participate in the political process."

In a press release, the Perry campaign sites examples of cases it which it claims similar out-of-state petition requirement have been struck down. The campaign goes on the say the Virginia Republican Party has the power to tell the Virginia Board of Election which candidates should be on the ballot.

Virginia's primary falls on March 6, what will be the first Super Tuesday. 10 other states will hold primaries and caucuses on that day. Both Ohio and Virginia could be key swing states if the primary battle lasts past Florida.

Perry is seeking a preliminary, permanent injuction so that his name will get on the ballots before they are printed. That date is fast approaching. Virginia State law says the "The electoral board shall make printed ballots available for absentee voting not later than 45 days prior to any election." That means absentee ballots must be mailed out by Jan 21.

Perry and Newt Gingrich were the only two candidates to submit signatures and not make the ballot. The others did not submit any signatures.

Gingrich's campaign has said it will pursue an aggressive write-in campaign, but Virginia doesn't allow write-ins on primary ballots. When asked if the Gingrich will also file a lawsuit, the campaign told Fox News it is still, "evaluating our options."