Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says getting on the ballot in Virginia requires hundreds of signatures from registered voters in each congressional district. Some candidates learned this lesson the hard way during the last presidential election cycle. Mitt Romney ended up winning the primary even though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was leading in Virginia at the time — but voters couldn’t support Gingrich because he wasn’t on the ballot.
“Newt Gingrich failed to meet the standards. Rick Santorum failed to meet the standards. Every other Republican [except Romney and Ron Paul] failed to meet the standards for signature collection,” Farnsworth says.
The statewide Republican presidential primary will be held on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday.