A judge has rejected a last-ditch bid by four Republican presidential candidates to get on Virginia’s GOP primary ballot, leaving the March 6 contest only to front-runner Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

In his ruling, federal District Court Judge John A. Gibney Jr. delivered a judicial spanking to the four candidates — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. — saying their complaint amounts to sour grapes.

“They knew the rules in Virginia many months ago,” Judge Gibney said in turning down the request to reopen the process. “They waited until after the time to gather petitions had ended and they had lost the political battle to be on the ballot; then, on the eve of the printing of absentee ballots, they decided to challenge Virginia’s laws. In essence, they played the game, lost, and then complained that the rules were unfair.”

His decision allows absentee ballots to go out as planned with just Mr. Paul and Mr. Romney as the only two listed candidates.

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