Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would like to see Virginia relax its requirements for candidates to qualify for the presidential primaries, saying current state laws "have reduced our relevance," after two big-name GOP candidates failed to qualify for the GOP primary.
Cuccinelli opined that the commonwealth's requirements should be relaxed in the Dec. 26 edition of his e-newsletter, The Cuccinelli Compass, after former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to qualify for Virginia's March 6 Republican presidential primary election.
Gingrich is launching a write-in campaign, which isn't allowed in primary elections in the commonwealth, and Perry has filed a federal lawsuit in hopes of gaining access to the ballot under state law.
In Virginia candidates are required to gather 10,000 signatures of registered voters in the state, including at least 400 from each of the commonwealth's 11 Congressional districts to qualify for the ballot. Officials from the state party organizations then certify the petitions for the State Board of Elections.
Cuccinelli suggested lowering the requirement in each Congressional district to 100 legitimate signatures.
"In 2012, Virginia won't be nearly as 'fought over' as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest," Cuccinelli wrote. "Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad."
Cuccinelli urged the GOP dominated General Assembly to change the rules in their upcoming session.
"I hope our new GOP majorities will fix this problem so that neither party confronts it again," he wrote. "I for one would like Virginia to be heard from in our nomination process, and I'm sure you would too."