Virgil Goode for President?

|
Opinion Zone,Norman Leahy

Former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode may be looking for a new job: Presidential candidate.

That’s one way to read a fundraising appeal the Constitution Party recently issued:

Former Virginia Congressman, Virgil Goode, has expressed a strong interest in seeking the Constitution Party Presidential nomination in 2012 and at its meeting this past weekend, the Constitution Party National Committee unanimously passed a resolution inviting him to do just that.

Okay, so the party has invited Goode to go for it.  The GOP and Democratic Party don’t issue similar exhortations when candidates seek their party nominations, but maybe they should test the idea in fundraising to see if it lifts response rates.

But what of Mr. Goode?  Followers of Virginia politics will recall that he was a long-time member of the state Senate – and a Democrat.  He was a big early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.  But he wasn’t always an obedient Democrat, as he mounted primary challenges to then-incumbent U.S. Senator Chuck Robb in 1994 and was part of a power-sharing agreement with state Republicans as they began their ascendancy under then-Gov. George Allen (R).

Elected to Congress in 1996, he became an independent in January 2000 and was re-elected in November.  Eventually, Goode became a Republican, and voters in Virginia's 5th congressional district sent him back to Washington five more times.  In 2008, he narrowly lost his seat to Democrat Tom Perriello, who was defeated in 2010 by former GOP state Sen. Robert Hurt.  During that campaign, there were rumors Goode might jump back into the race for his old seat – maybe as a Republican, possibly under a different party banner, or none at all.  All of the Republicans seeking the GOP nomination sought his support, reasoning that the goodwill Goode still enjoyed with the base would serve them well.  He never entered the race, but did offer help to those who asked.

So Goode is a known quantity in Southside Virginia political circles.  He’s got a reservoir of support.  Does that mean he can run for president?

Arguably, he does have a longer political resume than the current incumbent – and some of the Republican contenders.  But he’s interested in a third party nomination (and his fourth partisan label).  Winning the nomination is the easy part.  Getting a third party on the ballot in all 50 states takes enormous resources.

The Constitution party has done well for itself in that arena.  In 2008, it was on the ballot in most states.  Thanks to former Colorado GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo’s unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2010, where he finished ahead of the GOP nominee, the party has guaranteed ballot access in Colorado.

So maybe Virgil does stand a chance.  Of something.  His immediate goal, should he be the nominee, may be to best electoral tally of the party’s 2008, Chuck Baldwin.

Baldwin, endorsed by Ron Paul, won 0.15 percent of the national vote.

View article comments Leave a comment