We won’t know until next week whether former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode of Rocky Mount will be on the Virginia ballot as the Constitution Party’s candidate for president.
But there’s plenty of speculation about the impact a Goode candidacy could have on the race in Virginia, where President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are running neck and neck. Could Goode pull enough conservative votes away from Romney to tip a close race – and a key state — to Obama?
There’s at least one Democrat who isn’t underestimating Goode – former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello of Albemarle County, who defeated Goode in 2008. Perriello spoke at Obama’s campaign rally in Charlottesville on Wednesday and was asked about Goode’s candidacy in a brief interview.
“I think there’s no question that if Virgil wants to go out and really make the case to the voters, he is going to have significant appeal in Southwest and Southside Virginia,” Perriello said. “I’ve talked to a lot of conservatives in those areas who really don’t like Romney – for good and bad reasons. “
“Virgil knows how to talk that talk and, in some ways, as a conservative populist , can address the economic woes of a lot of voters who are probably not going to ever vote for the president,” said Perriello, who was defeated in 2010 by Republican Robert Hurt. “Does he end up making a dent or not? If he wants to go out there and do the grassroots politics, no one does it better.”
The state board of elections is scheduled to certify third-party candidates for the presidential election ballot on Tuesday.
– Michael Sluss