Former congressman Virgil Goode Jr. has qualified for the presidential ballot in Virginia, the State Board of Elections ruled Tuesday, adding a potential obstacle to Republican Mitt Romney’s hopes of winning the pivotal state.
The state Republican party has already challenged the eligibility of Goode, who is the Constitution Party’s nominee, and could still get him knocked off the ballot. Goode previously served in Congress as a Democrat, an Independent and then a Republican before losing his southwest Virginia seat in 2008.
Third-party hopefuls rarely garner many votes in Virginia, but Goode’s status as a longtime officeholder — he spent 12 years in Congress and 24 years in the state Senate before that — could earn him more support than the typical candidate. Just 2 percent or 3 percent of the vote going to Goode could be enough to swing the contest.
How real a threat is Goode to Romney’s chances? This real:
If Goode succeeds [in getting on the state’s ballot], he could become a spoiler in Virginia’s neck-and-neck race between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Some Republicans fear that Goode, a lawyer who was born and raised in Franklin County, would shave votes from the former Massachusetts governor.
“If you want to see Barack Obama reelected president of the United States, do whatever you can for Virgil Goode,” said Virginia Republican strategist Chris LaCivita.