Now that Republicans have failed to keep Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode off Virginia’s ballot, they want to persuade conservatives that a vote for Goode amounts to a vote for President Barack Obama in a key battleground state.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said this morning that conservatives would be throwing away their votes if they cast their ballots for Goode, the former congressman from Rocky Mount. Goode cemented his spot on Virginia’s ballot last week when Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he found no reason to disqualify the former GOP congressman. The state Republican Party had sought to have Goode disqualified, citing alleged irregularities in petitions he submitted to get on the Nov. 6 ballot. The state board of elections referred the matter to Cuccinelli’s office.
McDonnell, a top national surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, predicted Goode won’t be a factor in a swing state that is critical to Romney’s election hopes.
“Virgil is a good man,” McDonnell said during the “Ask the Governor” program on WTOP radio in Washington. “I served with him in the Virginia Senate (McDonnell was in the House of Delegates at the time). He is one of those bold guys who went from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party because he felt like they’d left him, and that’s right. But, at the end of the day, he’s just not going to be a factor.”
McDonnell said Goode barely registers in the polls because “people realize this is a two-person race.”
“It’s between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney,” McDonnell said. “And for a conservative, voting for Virgil Goode is a vote for Barack Obama. Virgil’s not going to win. He’s a good guy and he speaks strongly about the constitution, but this is between two people and if people want to see Barack Obama replaced, they need to vote for Mitt Romney or they’re really wasting their vote.”
Goode has said he believes he can draw support from conservatives and from voters who supported Obama in 2008 but have soured on the president.
When asked about Goode cutting even 1 percent from Romney’s support in Virginia, McDonnell said: “I think, by the end of the day, when that voter goes into the booth and says, ‘OK, do I want to just throw this protest vote away, or do I want to have a change in America? There’s really only one way to do that, and that’s a vote for Mitt Romney.”
McDonnell said Republicans are better organized, better funded and more enthusiastic than four years ago, when Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate in 44 years to carry Virginia.
“I think that’s going to affect those people now that are thinking about maybe a protest vote for Virgil Goode,” McDonnell said. “They realize that’s essentially a wasted vote.”
Dwayne Yancey has analyzed the impact a Goode candidacy could have in Virginia. You can find that here.
– Michael Sluss