Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party Republican, announced on Friday that Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode will remain on Virginia’s presidential ballot.
After the Republican Party of Virginia challenged Goode’s ballot qualifications, Cuccinelli’s office said the attorney general had completed his investigation into the more than 20,000 signatures Goode submitted to get on the ballot. The attorney general's office said “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” because the “candidate had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.”
Republicans fear Goode, along with Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, will siphon some of the anti-Obama vote away from Mitt Romney in Virginia. Goode, in particular, could take some votes away from Romney in the state’s fifth congressional district, whose residents he has represented over the years in Congress as a Democrat, Republican, and independent.
Goode has received anywhere from 2% to 4% of the vote in recent polls, but he may not have as big an impact as voters determine that a vote for Goode or Johnson is, in essence, a vote for Obama. If, though, Virginia is decided by less than 100,000 votes, Goode could potentially garner enough "protest" votes to become a spoiler for Romney much like Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was a spoiler for Democrat Al Gore in Florida during the 2000 elections.
To qualify for the presidential ballot in Virginia, a candidate needs to have at least 10,000 signatures and at least 400 signatures must be from each of the state’s 11 congressional district. In the state’s Republican primary this year, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman failed to meet this requirement and were disqualified from the ballot.
On September 4, the Virginia State Board of Elections asked Cuccinelli to conduct an investigation to determine if Goode could remain on the ballot.
“We call them like we see them,” Cuccinelli said.