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Goode makes ballot in Virginia
Constitution Party candidate thinks voter frustration will aid his campaign
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
With his name now set to appear on Virginia’s Nov. 6 ballot, Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode is optimistic that he will be elected.
Goode said that is because “so many people are fed up with” President Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
As a result, Goode indicated he may get the votes of such frustrated voters.
On Tuesday, the Virginia State Board of Elections approved Goode’s position on the state’s ballot Nov. 6. However, the board also voted unanimously to ask the state attorney general’s office to investigate allegations of fraud on petitions that the Constitution Party submitted to get Goode’s name on the ballot.
Nikki Sheridan, the board’s confidential policy adviser and spokesman, referred questions pertaining to the investigation request to the attorney general’s office.
Carolyn Gibson, a spokesman for that office, confirmed it had received the request. Brian Gottstein, another spokesman for the office, said there is no timetable for completing an investigation. Neither could comment further because of the pending investigation.
Goode remains optimistic that an investigation will find no wrongdoing. He said he thinks the GOP is making baseless allegations just to keep his name off the ballot so he will not hurt Romney’s presidential bid.
He and the Constitution Party submitted to Virginia’s election board more than 20,500 signatures, but they needed only 10,000, including 400 from each congressional district, he said. The latter figures are specified under state law for third-party candidates.
The elections board chose not to examine “hundreds of (petition) sheets” due to the surplus of signatures, he noted.
Goode added that despite both Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell being Republicans, he thinks any investigation by the state attorney general’s office will be fair because Cuccinelli “by oath of office” must enforce state laws as they pertain to everyone — regardless of the political party to which a person belongs.
Jeff Williams, a friend of Cuccinelli’s who is Martinsville’s Republican Party chairman, agreed. Based on Cuccinelli’s ethics, he said, “I don’t think any alternative motive ... (or) any funny business” would come into play.
Williams said “I like Virgil” and “I don’t have a problem” with Goode running for president.
But because he is a third-party candidate, Williams said, Goode stands “no chance” of being elected and runs the risk of “losing it for the Republicans.”
Like with Romney, Goode’s support is among conservatives, Williams added. Because Goode cannot win, he said, a vote for Goode would take away a vote for Romney and, therefore, essentially be a vote for Obama.
Goode said a major reason why so many voters are dissatisfied with Obama and Romney is because both are controlled by the wealthy and “hundreds of millions of dollars are behind both of them.”
“This may be the year that people wake up” and vote for a grassroots candidate for president, Goode said.
He said he thinks he would be able to get along with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress — and, therefore, maybe get something meaningful accomplished in Washington — because he will only serve one term in the White House if he is elected.
As a result, members of either major party who are thinking about running for the presidency would not feel threatened by him, he said.
In addition to having been a Republican, Goode also has served in Congress as a Democrat and an independent.
A former six-term congressman, Goode, of Rocky Mount, represented Henry County-Martinsville as a Republican before losing to former Democratic 5th District congressman Tom Perriello in 2008. Perriello served one term.
W.C. Fowlkes, chairman of the Henry County Republican Party, estimated that Goode will get 2 percent to 3 percent of the total nationwide vote. He said that, other than among Constitution Party members, most of Goode’s support seems to be in Virginia.
Goode has been out of the political limelight for four years, which is “quite some time,” Fowlkes said. Also, he said that while the United States is not a socialist nation, it is “moving toward a socialistic way of mind.”
“People are losing a lot of their (individual) rights,” he said.
Those factors, as well as people’s frustration with politics overall, may hurt Goode’s candidacy, according to Fowlkes.
Amid mud-slinging between Republicans and Democrats, he said, “a lot of people are giving a lot more thought to how important this election is.”
Therefore, they might not be willing to vote for a candidate from a lesser-known party, he indicated.
The elections board also said that Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein qualified for the Virginia ballot, according to news reports.