Third-party candidate stays on Virginia ballot

In a potential blow to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, third-party candidate Virgil Goode will stay on Virginia’s ballot for the general election.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican, said on Friday that his office finished an investigation of Goode’s petitions and he saw nothing that would prevent Goode’s inclusion on the ballot.

“We call them like we see them,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.

The Republican Party of Virginia had challenged Goode’s petition signatures.

“It is not uncommon to find some irregularities in candidate petitions that contain thousands of signatures.  Regardless of any such irregularities, the candidate had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot,” Cuccinelli said.

Goode, a Constitutional Party candidate, had about 9 percent of the projected vote in the upcoming November election, according to one poll this summer. Other measures put Goode’s potential votes at a much lower number.

One recent Washington Post poll put Goode at 2 percent in the state’s presidential race.

With Mitt Romney needing Virginia—especially if President Barack Obama can take Ohio or Florida—Goode could become a spoiler in the national election.

The former congressman has a strong enough conservative following in rural Virginia to take votes away from Romney, and Goode has no plans to end his low-budget campaign.

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