Cuccinelli Backs Off Support for Va. Primary Change - NBC4 Washington
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Cuccinelli Backs Off Support for Va. Primary Change

Says rules can't be rewritten for this election



    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is backing off from earlier tough talk on his state's Republican primary ballot.

    On Saturday, Cuccinelli said in a statement that the primary laws need to be changed immediately for the sake of Virginia voters.  The state's code requires GOP presidential hopefuls to submit petitions signed by 10,000 voters in order to get a spot in the March 6 primary ballot.

    Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to satisfy the state's requirement, but several lawsuits have been brought forward to allow for their inclusion.  Cuccinelli's statement Saturday said that Va. voters need to be able to choose from a full field of candidates.

    But on Sunday evening, his office released a statement on the Va. primaries that walked back from the stance he took on Saturday:

    "I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for our statewide elections. However, after working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 Presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia's burdensome system. A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law - something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia's attorney general.

    Lawyers from the campaigns of Gingrich, Michelle Bachman, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum had joined with Perry campaign to request spots on the Va. ballot, despite failing to achieve the lawful requirements.

    But it seems like they've just lost a little support in their challenge: "I do not change position on issues of public policy often or lightly," Cuccinelli said.  "But when convinced that my position is wrong, I think it necessary to concede as much and adjust accordingly."