The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Goode leaves Democrats for

U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (I-5th) announced yesterday that he is leaving the Democratic Party and will run as an Independent in the upcoming November election.

"In deciding to run as an Independent, I plan to continue voting on issues on the basis of what I believe is in the best interests of the fifth district and not on a political party position," Goode said in a press release.

The move was not surprising to political observers. Goode's conservative voting record had caused dissatisfaction among Democrats and invited speculation that he would switch to the Republican Party. In recent months he had skipped a major Democratic rally for the fifth district and participated in a rally for George Allen, Republican Senate candidate and former Virginia governor.

"I expected it," Del. Mitch Van Yahres (D-57th) said. "He's been snubbing Democrats and hanging around Republicans."

The move to be an Independent keeps Goode in line with his policy views, said Larry J. Sabato, government and foreign affairs professor.

"Virgil's approach to politics doesn't fit the Democratic Party anymore - neither does it fit with the Republicans," Sabato said.

"He's a free spirit," he said.

Democrats claimed partial victory over Goode's decision not to join the Republican Party.

Craig Bieber, executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party, said Goode has not indicated with which party he will caucus.

"That's gotta be disappointing" to the Republicans, Bieber said.

However, Ed Matricardi, executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, said Goode would not vote with the Democrats in the Congressional elections for speaker of the House, giving Republicans an advantage in keeping control of the House.

Matricardi said Republicans had hoped he would join their party, but understood his reluctance in taking such a step.

"He's been a Democrat his entire life," as have his father and grandfather, Matricardi said. "It's a cultural thing - it's tough to go the whole way."

Sabato said Goode's move is not likely to hurt him politically: his power in the House will be preserved because Republicans will give him committee assignments.

He also should maintain his popularity among his constituency. Although Charlottesville is a liberal area, the rest of Goode's district is moderately conservative, Sabato said.

"If anything, this decision will make him more popular," he said.

Van Yahres said becoming an Independent may give Goode more political flexibility.


Latest Podcast

From her love of Taylor Swift to a late-night Yik Yak post, Olivia Beam describes how Swifties at U.Va. was born. In this week's episode, Olivia details the thin line Swifties at U.Va. successfully walk to share their love of Taylor Swift while also fostering an inclusive and welcoming community.