WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Wednesday blamed his campaign's failure to produce the required number of signatures in order to appear on Virginia's primary ballot on "one guy," whom Gingrich said "frankly committed fraud."
The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday that the former House speaker had not turned in the 10,000 verified signatures the state requires in order to appear on the ballot for the state's March 6 Republican primary.
Gingrich's campaign initially announced it would pursue a write-in campaign, but upon learning that Virginia law prohibits write-in candidates in primary contests, it changed its tune, promising to pursue "alternative methods" for getting on the ballot.
But on Wednesday, Gingrich told a crowd gathered in an Iowa chocolate shop that the reason his campaign's 11,100 signatures weren't ruled admissable was because "we hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 -- we needed 10,000 -- 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud."
Gingrich isn't the only candidate struggling to explain why he is not on Virginia's primary ballot. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also failed to amass the required 10,000 signatures, filed a lawsuit against the Republican Party of Virginia, claiming that precedents set in federal courts should override Virginia's laws.