Underdog candidates for U.S. Senate need your help. That's the message emanating from Jamie Radtke's campaign headquarters.
Thousands of signatures still are needed to ensure that Radtke, one-time head of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, is included on the Republican primary ballot in June, according to a campaign email sent last week. Aside from former Gov. George Allen, her opponent is time — and the state's much-maligned ballot requirements.
Radtke's deadline to submit the quota of signed petitions to the Virginia State Board of Elections is March 29. Radtke and her foot soldiers must gather at total of 10,000, with at least 400 coming from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.
"We've got a lot of heavy lifting to do," Radtke says from Virginia Beach, where she was gathering signatures last week on the latest door-knocking campaign. There's no way to know exactly how many signatures the campaign has gathered, she says, but there are more than 1,000 packets of signed petitions in hand. With an expected 75 to 100 signatures in each packet, that would roughly put her over the top.
Complicating matters is the state's stalled redistricting process. The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to approve new district lines. Because of the delay by state lawmakers in approving the redistricting plan last year, the June primary might be put off until August. And because the petitions all include the June date, Radtke says, all of the signed petitions, in theory, would be invalid. State lawmakers are considering legislation to prevent that from happening, Radtke says.
Though the gathering process is an "administrative busy task," Radtke says she's confident that her name will appear on the ballot.