AG Cuccinelli promises objective review of Goode petitions
Constitution Party presidential candidate and former 5th District congressman Virgil Goode is on the Virginia ballot, and the task of determining whether he should stay is up to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
In a brief interview Wednesday, Cuccinelli said the review by his office of Goode’s petitions— requested by the State Board of Elections at the urging of the state GOP would be “absolutely objective” and based on the law, not political pressures or preferences.
“Nobody is going to get any advantage or disadvantage,” he said, calling such considerations “utterly irrelevant” to the work of his office.
“We’ll call it like we see it.”
The Republican Party of Virginia, invested in consolidating conservative support in the commonwealth for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, challenged the signatures submitted by Goode, charging irregularities in the petitions should disqualify them from being on the ballot in November. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, also qualified for the ballot.
Candidates must submit at least 10,000 valid signatures — including 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts — to qualify for the presidential ballot. Goode submitted nearly 20,000.
“I’ve committed no fraud and that (investigation) is fine with me,” Goode said on Monday.
Political observers believe that the race for Virginia’s 13 electoral votes could be close enough so that votes Goode could siphon from loyal supporters in Southside Virginia could make a difference in the outcome of the swing state, considered crucial to Romney’s chances.
Goode represented the 5th District from 1997 to 2009.
Both Cuccinelli and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling have been campaigning for Romney in the state. Bolling is chairman of Romney’s Virginia campaign.
Cuccinelli said there is no deadline or limitation on the time the review will take.
“The highest priority is to be right,” he said.
But the attorney general said his office is sensitive to the election deadline of Sept. 22 — the day registrars must begin mailing absentee ballots to registered voters and 45 days before the Nov. 6 election.