AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - White House gate crasher Tareq Salahi is leaving the Republican Party's gubernatorial nomination contest and launching an independent bid for the office.
Virginia Republicans will choose their gubernatorial nominee at a closed GOP convention this spring. State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is seen as the clear favorite and Salahi's bid was considered a long shot.
Salahi said in a news release Monday on his campaign website, "CrashTheVote.com," that he will compile the 10,000 petition signatures needed to appear on the November ballot as an independent. He says he will still campaign on Republican principles, but he will not be allowed to label himself as a Republican on the ballot.
Salahi and his then-wife, Michaele, gained fame in 2009 when they attended a White House state dinner uninvited.
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