Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have failed to qualify for Virginia’s March 6 Republican primary, a setback in their bids for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Republican Party of Virginia announced the developments Friday and early Saturday, saying that the two have failed to submit the required 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

That Gingrich and Perry failed to get on the ballot in this state that votes on Super Tuesday underscored the difficulty that first-time national candidates – many with smaller campaign operations and less money – have in preparing for the long haul of the campaign.

It also illustrates the advantage held by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He’s essentially been running for president for five years, and his team, smaller than in 2008 but larger than most of his 2012 opponents, has paid close attention to filing requirements in each state. He will appear on the Virginia ballot, along with Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who also has run a national campaign before.

Failing to get on the ballot will be a major setback for Gingrich, who has tried to use his recent upsurge in popularity to make up for a late organizing start. Ironically, Gingrich had a slight lead over Romney, with others farther back, in a Quinnipiac poll of Virginia Republicans released earlier in the week.

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