Two weeks after Republican George Allen turned in petitions for the U.S. Senate primary, Tim Kaine's campaign has finally turned in its signatures. Though they will be the first to let you know they have 4,000 more signatures, there's more to it than that.
Because Allen had primary challengers, it was imperative that his campaign turn in signatures as soon as possible for good ballot positioning. Kaine didn't have to worry about that so was able to take the full amount of time to collect signatures.
What if the Allen campaign had the luxury of continuing to collect petitions right up through the deadline? If we do the math, it's in favor of George Allen's grassroots efforts:
1) All campaigns began collecting signatures on January 1, 2012.
2) George Allen turned in 26,869 on March 12th. Assuming they were collecting signatures up through the 11th, that's 71 days, an average of 378.4 signatures a day.
3) Tim Kaine is turning in 30,866 today. Assuming they were collecting signatures through the 25th, that's 85 days, an average of 363.1 signatures a day.
So if Allen had kept collecting at his rate, the campaign would have turned in 32,164 signatures today. But because of the primary challengers and ballot position, he didn't have the luxury of waiting another two weeks just to pad his numbers.
Bottom line: The A-Team hustled for 71 days to turn in way over the 10,000 required signatures to have George Allen's name placed on the ballot. With volunteers located throughout the Commonwealth, they would have collected more than the Kaine campaign if they had been able to continue gathering signatures.
Update: Fishersville Mike theorizes on yet another reason why the Democrats need to collect more signatures while over at Bearing Drift Shaun Kenney good-naturedly muses, "I wonder how much more Kaine paid his staffers and signature collectors (and how much of that was spent on the AFL-CIO) than Allen paid his grassroots volunteers in pizza?"