Darren Richardson

Sept. 5, 2012

With most media eyes on the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., a major development Tuesday in Virginia that could have a major impact on the 2012 race for the White House may well be overlooked by large segments of the punditocracy, at least until next week.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney saw his hopes for winning the battleground Old Dominion state take a major hit when the state elections commission allowed three so-called third party candidates to appear on Virginia’s ballot.

The Romney campaign has been fighting unsuccessfully to keep Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson off the ballot in several states, including Virginia. But Romney’s ill-conceived efforts at limiting voter choice sustained a triple blow on Tuesday, when not only Johnson but Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Constitution Party candidate and ex-congressman Virgil Goode got the go-ahead to appear on the Virginia ballot this November.

Although Goode, who served in Congress both as a Democrat and a Republican, has said he will pull equally from both the both major-party campaigns, his views on most issues lead The Punditty Project to believe he will pull more votes from Romney than President Obama.

Goode, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an outspoken foe of undocumented immigration, won the Constitution Party’s presidential nomination in April.

According to a report in The Hill, the Romney campaign is continuing to challenge Goode’s inclusion, claiming that too many of the 20,000-plus signatures his campaign collected to put him on the ballot are fraudulent.

In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Goode had this to say about the Romney campaign’s challenges:

“There were some that just didn’t want us on the ballot – they didn’t want any third party on the ballot (because of) the misconception that the Libertarian Party with Gary Johnson, and myself running as the Constitution Party candidate, that we would take votes from Romney.

“I would submit to Mr. Romney that he should be an enforcer of the First Amendment – freedom of speech, freedom of petition, giving citizens the opportunity for choices," Goode said. "I think the board’s decision today to let those entities be on the ballot supports the First Amendment."

Goode also was quoted by the New York Times as delivering a stinging bard at Romney: “Candidate Romney, before he continues campaigning, should read the First Amendment about free speech and the right to petition,” Mr. Goode said Tuesday. “They’re afraid true conservatives will vote for me.”

The most recent polls out of Virginia show Obama and Romney running neck-and-neck. A recent Public Policy Polling poll found Goode polling at 4 percent in Virginia.

Goode began his career in the House as a Democrat in 1996 but lost favor within the party after voting to impeach President Clinton in 1998. He made the move to the GOP in 2002, after declaring himself an “independent” prior to the 2000 election. He lost by a razor-thin margin to Democrat Tom Perriello in the 2008 election and switched the Constitution Party in 2010. For those wanting to know more about Goode, he will appear on Fox News at 6 p.m. Eastern Wednesday.

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Wikipedia entry on Virgil Goode



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