Next year it will be easier for our candidates to qualify to be on the primary ballot on March 1, 2016. While Democrat candidates other than Hillary may have dropped out by March, Republicans are likely to have numerous candidates still in the race for the nomination. [read_more]
Republicans currently have 14 announced candidates with at least two more, Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich, expected to announce soon.
As discussed extensively during the convention vs. primary debate, in 2012 candidates were required to have 10,000 petition signatures, but for next year that number has been cut in half. Candidates are required to have 5,000 signatures with at least 200 coming from each of the 11 Congressional districts. Another big change from 2012 is that the person getting the signatures need not live in Virginia. They are only required to be a US resident. This means candidates with sufficient funds can have staffers from other states go to each of the districts in Virginia to collect the necessary signatures.
While Virginia has eased the primary ballot requirements we are still among the three toughest states for qualifying for primary ballot access. Only Illinois and Indiana have requirements as difficult. Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News, said,
“In the majority of states that have presidential primaries, if (candidates) are discussed in the news media, they go on (the ballot) automatically.”
The Republican Party of Virginia will be responsible for vetting the candidate’s petitions. The party will not favor any candidate. Republican Chairman John Whitbeck thinks it’s important that Republicans have choices on March 1st:
“If we had five candidates on the ballot in March, that would be a lot. That’s a substantial number considering we only had two in 2012. To make a successful case for a primary, you need to have a lot of candidates on the ballot to give Republican voters choices,” he said. “If you are a legitimate candidate, you can build the infrastructure.”
More on the story here.