RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – It was a busy campaign weekend for both President Barack Obama and GOP presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the president and Romney supporter Rudy Giuliani chased each other across the state. But despite their high focus on Virginia, a third-party candidate appears to be gaining ground and threatens to derail Romney’s campaign.
That third-party candidate is a well-known name to those who follow Virginia politics: Virgil Goode.
The 65-year-old Richmond native has been in politics in the state for the past 38 years as a senator and congressman, and is now running for a bigger office. He’s the Constitution Party’s candidate for president this November.
The Constitution Party is the fourth party Goode’s been involved with during his career. He’s been a Democrat, Independent, Republican and now a member of the Constitution Party.
According to CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth, that should have the Romney camp a little worried. With Goode now polling at about 9 percent in Central Virginia, Dr. Holsworth said Goode could steal votes away from Romney the same way Ralph Nader stole votes from Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election.
“Virgil Goode doesn’t need to pull 9 percent to have an influence”, said Holsworth. “If he pulls 2, 3, 4 percent, and in all likelihood those votes would come from people who are more likely to support Mitt Romney.”
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has spent a lot of campaign time and money in Northern Virginia, but hasn’t spent nearly as much time in Central Virginia as President Obama.
Dr. Holsworth doesn’t think Goode will pull 9 percent come election time, but may still be a factor in how the election turns out in Virginia.
“That could have a dramatic impact on the race in Virginia, and if it has an effect in Virginia, it could have an effect on the national race”, said Holsworth.
According to its website, the Constitution Party’s goal is to restore American jurisprudence to its biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its constitutional boundaries.
The Washington Post reported this morning that Goode is dismissing the suggestion he’ll steal votes from Romney. Goode is quoted as saying “I think we’re going to take votes from both Romney and Obama.”