Virginia voters may do a double-take during their republican primary this March: Texas Governor Rick Perry won't be on the ballot. Neither will former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Both GOP hopefuls have failed to qualify.
Candidates are required to have at least ten thousand valid nominating petitions. Early Saturday morning, the Republican Party of Virginia announced that neither candidate had received enough qualifying signatures.
It's a major setback for both candidates. Gingrich had hoped his recent upsurge in popularity would make up for a late organizing start. The Gingrich campaign blasted what it called a "failed system" in Virginia, and stated it would "pursue an aggressive write-in campaign" in the hopes of making up for the shortfall.
It may not work. Virginia state law bars write-in candidates, according to University of Virginia law professor Carl Tobias. As for Gingrich's failure to qualify, Tobias says the former House Speaker may have had trouble meeting a requirement that he must submit 400 signatures from each of Virginia's eleven congressional districts.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul have both qualified for Virginia's primary ballot.
Virginia is one of eleven states holding a primary on March 6th, "Super Tuesday". Virginia's primary will decide who gets the support of 46 delegates -- a small fraction of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. But those delegates could be pivotal in a close race.
Gingrich currently lives in Virginia.