Santorum Fails to Qualify for Indiana Ballot
Election officials still tallying signatures for Gingrich
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has failed to qualify for the Indiana ballot.
Presidential candidates need 500 signatures in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts. Santorum apparently met that standard in eight districts, but Marion County's voter registration office says the former Pennsylvania senator fell 24 signatures short in the Seventh District.
Carmel State Senator Mike Delph, who's been working on Santorum's behalf, had said earlier this week he was "cautiously optimistic" Santorum would gather enough signatures, but said Marion County represented a particular problem because it's divided between two districts, the Fifth and the Seventh. That meant volunteers needed to keep close tabs on which signatures were from where.
Santorum collected nearly 800 signatures in Marion County, but the voter registration office says only 476 of them were in the Seventh District, the only Indiana district contained entirely within one county.
Santorum's campaign has the option of going to court, or appealing to the Election Commission to accept signatures that Marion County officials ruled were invalid or from outside the Seventh District.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's petitions have already been certified, and election officials say Texas Congressman Ron Paul has met the threshold. They're still tallying signatures for Newt Gingrich, but state GOP officials say their count shows Gingrich will qualify as well.
Who's on the ballot may not matter by the time Indiana votes May 8. Republicans haven't had a presidential primary that matters in Indiana since 1976. But the fierce battle between Romney and Gingrich and modified delegate-selection rules have had GOP leaders speculating that that could change.