| A.M.I. Newswire staff/Ted Cruz official photo

Ted Cruz qualifies for Virginia primary ballot

Sen. Ted Cruz has become the fifth 2016 presidential candidate to qualify for the Virginia primary.

The Texas Republican filed his petition signatures with the Republican Party of Virginia late Friday.

In a press release, Cruz said his campaign filed twice the number of signatures required under state law and that he looks forward to "being very competitive in Virginia."

Virginia requires presidential candidates to submit a minimum of 5,000 total signatures, with at least 200 coming from each of the state's 11 congressional districts. The filing deadline for both Democratic and Republican candidates is December 10.

Cruz joins real estate investor Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on the GOP ballot.

Republican Party of Virginia communication director David D'Onofrio told AMI Newswire earlier this month that he expects most of the GOP presidential contenders to qualify for the ballot.

That would be a change from 2012, when only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified for the primary ballot. In 2012, state law required candidates to submit 10,000 signatures from registered voters, with 400 from each congressional district.

Cruz launched his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on March 23. He  was the first candidate of either major party to officially kick off a presidential campaign.

In a Nov. 17 Roanoke College poll of registered voters in the state, Cruz had an 18 percent favorability rating against 38 percent unfavorable. Among likely voters, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton beats Cruz in a head-to-head match-up 47 percent to 39 percent.