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Virginia Primary Could Carry More Weight After Iowa

Romney, Paul remain the only candidates eligible for Virginia ballot

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In the wake of the Iowa caucus, attention now moves down the road to contests such as Virginia's -- but many candidates are still jockeying to get on the state' s primary ballot.

After the close call in Iowa for Mitt Romney -- who ultimately prevailed by just eight votes in the state's caucus -- many candidates say the race in southern states, such as Virginia, became all the more important. But as of now, only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are on the state's ballot.

Some of the voters in Iowa yesterday seemed to agree that Virginia will be a key primary. Mike McInerney, a student at Iowa's Drake University who attended a local caucus, says it' s vital for southern candidates, such as former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to battle it out in Virginia. 

"It's important, not only for him, but for the other candidates, to get on, and obviously when only two candidates make the ballot there's a flaw there in the way that system works," says McInerney. "And hopefully they can get that reversed and have it reevaluated. Because it's simply, just kind of outrageous the fact that four out of the six or seven didn't make it to the ballot."

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli last week said he would push to change the rules to allow the others on the ballot, but later backed off that position, saying a change helping wouldn't be fair to Romney and Paul, who followed the rules as they had been established. 

And if the Iowa contest is any indication, the race for Virginia will include lots of negative ads from outside groups, according to Bill Allison of the watchdog group the Sunlight Foundation. 

"I think we're going to see this as long as the primaries go on and as long as the winner is in doubt, there's going to be this flood of money," Allison says. "And we're going to see the same thing in the general election too, and it's going to be beyond anything we've ever seen before."  

But Rich Carstensen of Council Bluffs, Iowa says the negative ads are just a part of politics.

"It happens on every election. You know every candidate complains about the other one," Carstensen says. "It's just kind of part of the process. Who do you believe? You just need to have some discernment and make your own judgment."

The Virginia contest is set for March 6. 

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