1 of 2 | Republican 2012 presidential hopeful, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and his wife Callista in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Dec. 20, 2011. UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo
RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A Virginia Tea Party activist said he has filed suit challenging a decision by state elections officials to keep Newt Gingrich off the GOP primary ballot.
Gingrich, a former U.S. House Speaker, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to hand in enough valid signatures to qualify for the March 6, 2012, primary ballot, Virginia officials said Saturday.
In a news release, Jonathan Moseley said he filed suit Thursday in the Circuit Court of Richmond County, alleging Gingrich complied with Virginia law, filing 11,000 petition signatures -- 1,000 more than the law requires -- but that many of the signatures were improperly excluded.
Perry filed a federal challenge Tuesday to Virginia's ballot access rules. Members of the Perry campaign said the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, challenges the "constitutional validity of the Virginia statute [that] regulates access to the ballot by primary candidates."
"Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election," campaign communications chief Ray Sullivan said.
Only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas were able to fulfill requirements and get on the ballot for the "Super Tuesday" primary.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Virginia's laws favored the richest presidential candidates while Gingrich's campaign called the state's system "failed."
Gingrich has lived in Virginia for 12 years.