The Bulletin

The clock is ticking for presidential candidates to get on the ballot in Virginia. Here’s who’s filed so far.

By: - December 6, 2019 12:37 pm

“I Voted” stickers spread out on a table at a polling place in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Democratic presidential contenders have less than one week left to file their paperwork to qualify for the Virginia 2020 primary ballot.

By 5 p.m. Thursday, any candidate who wants to compete in Virginia has to file 5,000 petition signatures from qualified voters, with at least 200 signatures from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts.

The paperwork hasn’t been certified yet, but here’s who’s filed as of Friday morning, according to the Virginia Department of Elections:

  • Bernie Sanders – 13,396 signatures
  • Pete Buttigieg – 12,300 signatures
  • Amy Klobuchar – 9,038 signatures
  • Andrew Yang – 8,138 signatures

Because some people who sign petitions aren’t actually registered voters, the state recommends that candidates turn it at least 7,500 signatures. The Democratic Party of Virginia will check the signatures and tell the state who its official candidates are by Dec. 17.

Petition-gathering isn’t a great indicator of a candidate’s strength in a particular state, but ballot access can be an early test of a campaign’s organization.

In 2012, four Republican presidential candidates sued the state after they failed to gather the 10,000 signatures required at the time, leaving Mitt Romney and Ron Paul as the only two options on the ballot. The state lowered its signature threshold after that.

The Democratic primary will be held March 3 as part of Super Tuesday.

The Republican Party of Virginia has opted to hold a party-run convention next year, which means President Donald Trump won’t have to face any longshot Republican challengers in an open primary.

UPDATE: Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s team filed paperwork Monday with 7,900 signatures.

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Graham Moomaw
Graham Moomaw

A veteran Virginia politics reporter, Graham grew up in Hillsville and Lynchburg, graduating from James Madison University and earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Mercury in 2019, he spent six years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, most of that time covering the governor's office, the General Assembly and state politics. He also covered city hall and politics at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Contact him at [email protected]