Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Blog

By Jennine Vari

2012 Fall Intern

On September 4th, Virginia elections officials ruled that former Congressman Virgil Goode Jr. will be listed as a third-party presidential candidate on the ballot in Virginia, possibly threatening Mitt Romney’s chances of winning the swing state. The GOP is now concerned that Goode’s nomination by the conservative Constitution Party could siphon votes from Romney and tip the scales in favor of Barack Obama.

Goode served 24 years as a state Legislator before his 12-year career in the US House of Representatives and still remains popular is his former district. His popularity, in conjunction with the support of the Independent Green Party, helped him collect 20,500 signatures, surpassing the required 10,000 for ballot qualification and drawing attention from Republicans.

In a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in July, the presidential hopeful only received 9 percent of the vote in Virginia. However, in such a close race, as little as 2 to 3 percent of voter support to a third party could give the Democrats an advantage to win in the swing state.

On the Issues

As the conservative Constitution Party’s nominee, Goode shares Romney’s views on opposition to “Obama-care” and gay marriage. However, also holds a number of political positions further to the right of Romney, especially on the issue of immigration, which is a central focus of his campaign. The former Representative advocates for “troops, fences and other measures” to stop illegal aliens, terrorists and drug smugglers from entering across the southern border. He proposes a moratorium on green cards until the unemployment rate drops below 5 percent, and calls for a partial appeal of the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to all persons born in the US. He also supports the efforts of Arizona and Alabama to curb undocumented immigration.

Goode has not issued any public statements regarding civil liberties, however, as a member of the House he voted in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, the Patriot Act Reauthorization Bill in 2005, and warrantless electronic surveillance in 2006. During his acceptance speech in April, he did express his belief that his support for the Patriot Act was a mistake and now wants to “repeal the applications… as they apply to US citizens.”

While in office, Virgil Goode also stirred up controversy and made headlines when, in a letter to voters in 2006, he warned that the election of Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison and his plan to take the oath on the Koran posed a threat to traditional values. His letter stated a desire to end the visa policy which allowed “many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.”

Despite his current conservative platform, the ex-Congressman has been referred to as a “serial party-switcher”, running as a Democrat, Independent, and then a Republican. Now he is billing himself as grassroots politician, not influenced by super-PACs.

Challenge by the GOP

Shortly after the decision by election officials, the Virginia GOP began fighting back against the nomination by challenging the validity of the 20,500 signatures Goode’s campaign submitted to Virginia election officials. If their effort is successful, the third-party candidate could be removed from the ballot like he was last month in Pennsylvania when Republicans challenged his 35,000 signatures, claiming voter fraud.

Despite the disqualification in Pennsylvania, Virgil Goode remains on the ballot in 25 states and continues to pursue his bid for president at his next stop in Michigan.

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