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Goode won't seek GOP nod
For election to 5th District seat in 2010
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Virgil H. Goode Jr.

Monday, July 27, 2009

By K.A. WAGONER - Franklin News Post

Former congressman Virgil H. Goode Jr. says he will not seek the Republican nomination for his former seat in the House of Representatives in 2010.

"I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Congress in 2010," Goode said in a prepared statement. "It is my sincere hope and expectation that Republicans will nominate a conservative who will oppose the record deficits and debt of the current administration, will support secure borders and oppose amnesty for illegals, will recognize and reduce the huge threat that terrorists pose for our country, will support pro-life issues, and will support the traditional definition of marriage of one man and one woman."�

Goode's statement did not rule out running under another party's banner. However, he said, "I look forward to supporting and working for that (the Republican) candidate in 2010."�

Goode did not address the reasons behind his decision, and he declined to elaborate.

After 35 years in politics, the Franklin County resident said he has no regrets and has enjoyed serving his constituents.

"I sincerely appreciate the privilege accorded to me by the citizens of Virginia's Fifth District to serve them in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1997 to January 2009," he said, "and I am especially grateful to those who voted for and supported me in past elections."�

Goode's long-term political career came to a halt in January, when the 5th District post passed to Tom Perriello, a Democrat from Albemarle County. Perriello, a political newcomer, defeated Goode in November by 727 votes, or 0.23 percent of the total votes cast.

It was the first time a challenger even came close to Goode's command of the ballot box. Goode sought a recount in the tight race and conceded in December, when the recount upheld Perriello's victory.

Now 62, Goode first was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1973, when he was 27. He served there until 1996, when he was elected to the 5th District House seat.

He easily won election to succeed former congressman L.F. Payne, a Democrat. Goode was a Democrat for 25 years before running as an independent and then a Republican in 2002.

He gained national attention in 1998, when he was one of only five Democrats in the House to vote for three of the four articles of impeachment against former President Bill Clinton.

Two years later, he ran as an independent and began caucusing with Republicans, gaining a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

As a congressman, Goode supported anti-amnesty immigration legislation, veterans' health care and the $10 billion federal buyout for tobacco farmers. He also fought to keep American jobs from moving to other countries and to protect senior citizens' benefits.

He had a conservative voting record, opposing tax increases and supporting reductions in federal spending. He consistently supported pro-life legislation and opposed same-sex marriages.

Those views made him vulnerable in the more Democratic-leaning parts of the district, such as Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia. There, Perriello defeated Goode by a margin of 4 to 1.

Despite that, Goode remained popular in much of the district, particularly its rural areas. In the November race, he won 57 percent of the vote in Henry County, compared with 42.9 for Perriello. The margin was even wider in Franklin County, where Goode took 62.3 percent of the vote, compared with 37.7 percent for Perriello.

The city of Martinsville, however, went strongly to the Democrat, with Perriello netting 61.2 percent of the vote compared with Goode's 38.9.

In the months since he left office, Goode has given several speeches, some addressing topics such as illegal immigration. In March, he filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission. He said at the time that he filed the form because some people had made voluntary donations to him and were encouraging him to challenge Perriello in 2010.

The forms must be filed by candidates who spend or receive more than $5,000, according to the FEC.

Earlier, during a January interview, Goode said, "I first ran for office in 1973 because there were things I thought needed to be changed. And I think we have been successful in doing some positive things to help the country and the district. I think we made a difference."�

(Martinsville Bulletin staff writer Amanda Buck contributed to this report.)


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