A host of hurdles in store for Virginia’s General Assembly

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s General Assembly already faces a big hurdle when they meet on Jan. 11.

A leadership battle in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans both have 20 seats, could slow the session down as the two sides debate what powers Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has.

But that is not the only road block. The Republicans may be splintering as well.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has called for emergency legislation to open the March 6 primary to more candidates.

He is following up a request by presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, along with others who did not get on the ballot, to change the rules.

Such a change would need approval from 80 percent of the House and Senate — something Delegate Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, doubts will happen.

Delegate Dave Albo, R-Fairfax, a Mitt Romney supporter, doesn’t think that will play well.

“The bottom line is the candidates who didn’t get filed, blew it.”

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul filed the required 10,000 signatures with 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts.

Last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed in a lawsuit that that requirement violated his freedom of speech.

On Saturday, Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum joined in asking Virginia Board of Elections and the Virginia Republican Party to add them to the ballot.

The longer the dispute continues, the more distracted the lawmakers will be from legislation and budget discussion on education, transportation, immigration and other issues.

The General Assembly session opens Jan. 11.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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