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Virginia primary: Was it so hard for Perry and Gingrich to get on the ballot?

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Indeed, at a rally held last week in Arlington, Va., Gingrich admitted his campaign was not prepared for his recent surge in popularity in the polls.

“We weren’t ready for it yet because we don’t have the structure and we don’t have the money to compete at that level, so we had to scramble a little bit,” Gingrich said.

In fact, Gingrich is leading among Virginia Republicans, according to a recent survey by Quinnipiac University, taken Dec. 13-19. Among the 489 registered Republican voters, 30 percent said they were planning to vote for Gingrich, with 25 percent for Romney, 9 percent for Paul and 6 percent for Perry.

Not getting on the Virginia ballot is particularly embarrassing for Gingrich, considering it is now his home state. Gingrich, who was born in Pennsylvania and served two decades in Congress as a representative from Georgia, now resides in McLean.

However, most political analysts agree that all candidates face the toughest hurdles in Virginia, due to unusually difficult primary rules for candidates of both parties. To avert armies of volunteer petitioners invading the state, Virginia requires that all those gathering signatures be state residents. Additionally, at least 400 signatures must come from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts.

Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, said that despite the rigorous requirements, prior candidates for president, governor, and senator from both parties successfully filed their petitions.

“The system has been in place for a long time and the ballot requirements are well known,” Mr. Martin told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Monday.

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