Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode has been cleared to appear as a presidential candidate on the Virginia ballot this November, possibly posing trouble for Republican Mitt Romney in a crucial swing state.
After an investigation of the certification petitions filed by Goode, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli concluded Friday that, while there may have been some irregularities, nothing he examined would prevent Goode from appearing on the ballot as a candidate for the Constitution Party.
“We call them like we see them,“ Cuccinelli said in a statement.
The Virginia State Board of Elections had asked the attorney general to investigate Goode’s petitions after they were challenged by the Republican Party of Virginia.
In a Richmond appearance earlier week, University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said that the challenge was a ploy by Republicans to keep Goode from diverting votes in Central and Southern Virginia that might otherwise go to Romney.
Sabato said that, in the tight race between Romney and President Obama, a few thousand votes for Goode could tip Virginia into Obama’s column. The political analyst said Virginia and Ohio likely will be most critical swing states in the election.
In the 2000 presidential election, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida. Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush eventually the state won by 571 votes, defeating Democratic Vice President Al Gore in an extremely close contest.
A former conservative Democrat turned Republican, Goode was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2009, representing Virginia’s 5th District.
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