Top VA lawmaker: "Zero chance" of Gingrich write-in candidacy

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It appears the Newt Gingrich campaign has run out of options for getting on the ballot for Virginia's presidential primary. A top state lawmaker said Tuesday there's "zero chance" of changing state law in time to allow a write-in campaign.

Virginia's tough requirements for getting on the primary ballot came under scrutiny last week when only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified.

On Sunday morning, Virginia probably wasn't getting a Christmas card from Newt Gingrich...who spoke about the primary system that made it too tough to get on the ballot.

"Well we think it's time for them to change that. If something's wrong they ought to fix it," Gingrich said Sunday.

Fixing it to allow something easier, or, a write-in candidacy would take an act of the Virginia General Assembly.

Chances of that happening?

"I would say zero to none," said Republican House Majority Leader Kirk Cox, adding that the deadlines now are too tight.

"You can always look at legislation and what's on the books down the road and see is that what you still want to do, but to change the rules in the middle of the game, I think that would be a mistake," Cox said.

The talk, however, of making changes continues.

For example, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wrote to supporters, "Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad." He added, "It screams out for making our ballot more accessible."

Democratic strategist Paul Goldman said Tuesday on First at Four, he's still working toward a solution early next year.

"This is no academic exercise. I think there are things we should do, can do, must do before the March primary," Goldman said.

Governor Bob McDonnell appeared with Gingrich in Short Pump last week, but later remained neutral on the primary process.

"The rules are what they are. Everybody knows them in advance and everybody's got to comply," McDonnell said.

Even if, by some miracle, state lawmakers quickly passed a bill changing the rules, McDonnell would still have to sign-off on the plan. A spokesman said the governor would await General Assembly action, if it occurs, before making any further comment.

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