Four candidates met the December 22 filing deadline by turning in signatures. Virginia rules say a minimum of 10,000 signatures must be submitted: Mitt Romney had 16,026; Ron Paul with 14,361; Rick Perry with 11,911; and Newt Gingrich with 11,050.
Romney was quickly certified followed by Paul. Perry did not meet the minimum number of signatures and was disqualified.
That leaves Newt Gingrich who participated in a fundraising campaign appearance in Richmond the morning of the filing deadline. As darkness fell on RPV headquarters, signatures were still being sorted and verified for Gingrich and, as of 8:00, nothing had been heard as to whether he met the minimum.
If Gingrich qualifies, there will be three candidates on the ballot: Romney, Paul, and Gingrich.
Check out Bearing Drift for the latest updates.
UPDATED 12/24/11 at 3:00 am: Newt Gingrich failed to make the Virginia ballot. RPV sent out this press release to make the announcement:
The Republican Party of Virginia has completed its examination of the nominating petitions filed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.This means the Virgina ballot will have only two names: Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
After verifying the signatures submitted by the campaign, RPV has determined that Speaker Gingrich submitted fewer than the 10,000 signatures required by the Code of Virginia.
As such, he has failed to qualify for the ballot and will not be included in the March 6 primary.