The little noticed Constitution Party presidential candidate, Virgil Goode does not appear on many state ballots this November but where he does, it is believed he may have some impact on the electoral college outcome.
Virgil Hamlin Goode, Jr served in the US House of Representatives from 1997 to 2009, first as a Democrat, then an Independent and finally as a Republican. He was defeated after six terms in the 2008 election to Democrat Tom Perriello. Goode subsequently joined the Constitution Party.
The conservative Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party by Howard Philips who was the party’s presidential candidate in 1992, 1996 and 2000. In 1999, the party changed its name to the “Constitution Party.” The party’s platform is predicated on the the original intent of the Founding Fathers, found mostly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The party largely focuses on immigration calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants, a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued and the unemployment rate is below 5%. The Constitution Party has some substantial support from the Christian Right and in 2010 achieved major party status in Colorado.
Goode is well known in Virginia and his candidacy has caused some concern among his former GOP friends and Virginia state party officials. Virginia is among the nine states where the 2012 election will be decided. If Goode swings enough conservative votes from Mitt Romney, it could give Virginia’s 13 electoral college vote to Barack Obama and another four years.
Recent polls show Obama about even or slightly ahead of Romney in head-to-head Virginia pairings by 4 to 8 percentage points. Only one, a Washington Post poll of 934 registered Virginia voters conducted Sept. 12-16, included Goode, and he was the choice of 2 percent. The poll’s sampling error margin is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“He’s still a household name in some parts of Virginia,” said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “Unlike other candidates, Virgil Goode has the potential to siphon off a sizable number of votes regionally.”
Rozell said that if it comes down to Virginia in a very close election, Goode could draw 1 percent to 2 percent of the vote to become this year’s Ralph Nader, although statistically it’s unlikely.