Former congressman Virgil Goode Jr. will remain on Virginia’s presidential ballot after state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II concluded an investigation into fraud allegations leveled at Goode by the state Republican Party.
Cuccinelli found, according to a news release from his office, that “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.”
Goode represented southwest Virginia in the state Senate and then in Congress for a combined 36 years, as a Democrat, an Independent and then a Republican. Now he is running for president as the Constitution Party nominee, and Republicans in Virginia and other states have sought to keep him off the ballot out of concern that he might take votes from Mitt Romney (R).
A Washington Post poll of Virginia released this week showed Goode getting 2 percent support among registered voters, while Libertarian Gary Johnson got 4 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein took 1 percent. President Obama led Romney in that five-way matchup, 48 percent to 40 percent.
The Virginia State Board of Elections ruled in early September that Goode had qualified for the ballot after he submitted more than 20,500 signatures to the board. State law requires candidates to submit a minimum of 10,000 valid signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.
But the state Republican party filed a challenge to Goode’s submission, and party Chairman Pat Mullins contended that there were “systemic problems” among Goode’s signatures that showed a “stunning disregard” for state law. Goode called the allegations “ludicrous.”
While Cuccinelli found some problems, he concluded that “the candidate had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot,” his office said, a conclusion that could disappoint his fellow Republicans.
“We call them like we see them,” Cuccinelli said.
Goode said he was pleased with the decision. “Hopefully many of those who vote early by absentee or in the military will recognize that I offer a big difference from Romney and Obama,” Goode said.
The state Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.