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Gingrich Drops Court Bid to Get on Virginia Primary Ballot

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Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Newt Gingrich, who is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president, dropped his court bid to be added to Virginia’s primary ballot.

Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, asked the U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia, today to dismiss his case challenging the state’s primary rules.

Gingrich “has voluntarily dismissed his claims pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia,” according to the two-page filing. “Accordingly, this matter is moot.”

A three-judge appeals panel last month rejected a request from Texas Governor Rick Perry and Gingrich to block the state from printing ballots and distributing absentee ballots for the March 6 primary while their appeals seeking to be included on the ballots were pending.

The candidates challenged a Virginia law requiring that people gathering signatures for a candidate’s petition to appear on the ballot be eligible to vote in the state. The candidates said the rule violates their rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas are the only Republicans to make it onto the ballot for Virginia’s primary on so-called Super Tuesday.

R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich spokesman, didn’t immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment on the court filing.

The district court case is Perry v. Judd, 3:11-cv-00856, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond). The appeal is Perry v. Judd, 12-1067, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Richmond).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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