Goode qualifies for state ballot
Former Congressman’s supporters compile 20,000 signatures; Republicans suspect petition fraud
With a little help from grassroots supporters, former Congressman Virgil Goode will have his shot at the White House in November. Goode made the presidential ballot in Virginia Tuesday, running on the conservative Constitution Party ticket.
Petitions submitted to the Virginia Board of Elections, containing about 20,000 signatures, were enough to place the Constitutional Party on the ballot. The petition has been sent to the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to review allegations of petition fraud, said Nikki Sheridan , the confidential policy advisor at the Virginia Board of Elections.
In a letter to Charles Judd, chairman of the Virginia Board of Elections, Christopher Nolen, an attorney representing the Virginia Republican Party, said that about 36 percent of the signatures had “material errors or omissions and cannot be counted.”
Goode was briefly on the Pennsylvania ballot earlier this election season before Republican opposition in that state led to his removal. The Constitution Party did not challenge the Pennsylvania decision.
“We want to go toe to toe with the Republican Party, but in Pennsylvania we would have had to pay for a lawyer and high court fees,” said Michael Bertocchi, a Maryland Constitutional Party spokesman.
Should Goode’s status remain contested in Virginia, he might become a write-in candidate. Bertocchi said Constitutional Party members are also trying to make him a write-in candidate in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
A write-in candidate could make all the difference in battle states such as Virginia. In Virginia the race is neck-and-neck between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“Goode could make a difference in the election if it is a very close election, which it is expected to be, [if the gap is] around 5,000 votes,” said Geoff Skelley, University Center for Politics spokesperson.
As a former conservative Democrat turned independent turned Republican, Goode could draw votes away from Mitt Romney — but probably only a small percentage, Skelley said.
Goode is currently on the ballot in 22 states, including Virginia. He is expected to garner the most votes in Virginia, since it is his home state, but political pundits are skeptical of the former congressman’s chances for victory.
“Obama and McCain got 99 percent of votes cast in Virginia back in 2008,” Skelley said. “Third-party candidates and write-ins accounted for 1 percent of the vote.”
The Obama campaign declined to comment on Goode’s candidacy. The Romney campaign could not be reached for comment.