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McDonnell: Goode backers 'wasting vote,' endangering Romney

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Photo - Members of the Minuteman Project speak with then-Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) during a 2007 rally on the National Mall. (Getty Images)
Members of the Minuteman Project speak with then-Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) during a 2007 rally on the National Mall. (Getty Images)
Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had some harsh words Monday for anyone planning to vote for Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode.

"They're wasting their vote," McDonnell said on WTOP's "Ask the Governor."

Goode could be Republican Mitt Romney's Ralph Nader in Virginia, with the potential to strip votes away from Romney in a state he must win. Goode, a former state senator and congressman from Southwest Virginia who served in Congress as a Democrat, Republican and independent, remains popular among conservatives, particularly those who supported Romney's rivals in the Republican primaries.

Polls that included Goode when asking voters who they would support in November showed that he consistently draws support away form Romney, though Goode said supporters of both Romney and President Obama would vote for him.

McDonnell said he expects most voters to dismiss Goode.

"At the end of the day he's just not going to be a factor," McDonnell said. "People realize this is a two-person race."

Given how tight the presidential race has been in Virginia, Goode could doom Romney's bid by winning just a percentage point or two. Romney would have trouble winning the White House if he loses Virginia.

Republicans challenged Goode's petitions to qualify for the election, but Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled Friday that Goode would remain on the ballot. Goode insisted he can win on an anti-immigration platform and believes voters deserve an alternative to Romney and Obama.

"A conservative voting for Virgil Goode is really a vote for Barack Obama," McDonnell said. For people still considering Goode, McDonnell implored them to ask themselves: "Do I want to throw this protest vote away or do I want change in America?"

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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