Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has completed his investigation of the petitions of Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil H. Goode and has concluded that, while there may have been certain irregularities, nothing he examined would prevent Goode from being certified for the Virginia ballot in the upcoming November presidential election.
It is not uncommon to find some irregularities in candidate petitions that contain thousands of signatures, Cuccinelli’s office said. Regardless of any such irregularities, the candidate had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Therefore, the attorney general has concluded that the State Board of Elections was correct in certifying Goode for inclusion in the Virginia presidential ballot.
“We call them like we see them,” said Cuccinelli.
On September 4, 2012, at a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections, the board requested that the attorney general investigate the statements from an August 30th letter submitted to it that challenged the inclusion of Goode on the Virginia presidential ballot, based on alleged petition irregularities. The board had also previously requested on August 6th that the attorney general investigate certain other alleged petition irregularities related to Goode’s candidacy.
The state Republican Party had challenged Goode’s eligibility, apparently fearing that he will draw votes from Mitt Romney, or at least encourage his most ardent supporters to sit out the election, possibly enabling President Obama to edge out a win.
Despite an unorthodox political career, Goode is something of a folk hero in the Farmville area west of Richmond. He was originally elected to Congress as a Democrat, then became an Independent and finally a Republican before being ousted in 2008 and remains popular with voters throughout the central and southwestern portion of the state.
How popular is Goode? Well, for a candidate many voters have never heard of, he’s quite popular. A mid-July Public Policy Polling survey found him pulling fully 9% of Virginia’s vote. With Obama and Romney within a few percentage points of each other, that’s enough to make Goode a force to be reckoned with.
Virgil Goode Jr., 66, is a Phe Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Richmond and holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served in the Virginia Senate from 1973 through 1997 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 through 2009.
His political platform is solidly conservative. He opposes gay marriage, gun control, illegal immigration, amnesty for undocumented immigrants and favors tax cuts, English as the official language and curbs on malpractice awards. Goode advocates fully funding Social Security, which now relies on general revenues to meet its obligations.
Goode doesn’t see himself as a spoiler. He told the Washington Post a few weeks ago that he is drawing votes from Obama as well as Romney. Perhaps so, but there’s been no sign of distress over at Virginia Democratic headquarters.