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3rd party candidate could tip scales in Virginia

Sunday - 9/16/2012, 11:36am  ET

AP: 874b59c3-5946-47b6-8139-a7dd124fbe52
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2008 file photo, former Va. Rep. Virgil Goode speaks to reporters in Rocky Mount, Va. Goode will appear on Virginia's presidential ballot after state election officials rejected a Republican-led bid to keep him from draining votes from Mitt Romney in a swing state where polls show a deadlocked race. The State Board of Elections acted Tuesday after the state GOP called Goode's qualifying petitions and signatures into question and sought an independent review. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Sam Dean, File)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A third party candidate could have a major impact on this year's election. Political observers says Virginia is a pivotal state for both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but a third party candidate could draw enough votes away if the election is close.

Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, a former Congressman in Virginia, is also on the commonwealth's ballot this year.

"A relatively small number of votes could be decisive in Virginia, and the Virgil Goode campaign is a problem for the Romney campaign," University of Mary Washington political science professor Steven Farnsworth tells WTOP.

Goode though, doesn't see it that way. He recently told ABC News that he expects to draw Democratic votes away from the President Obama as well.

Farnsworth says if Goode can draw one or two percent of the vote in Virginia, which is possible if he does well in his old congressional district, he could change the course of the entire election.

He notes that Goode ran as a Democrat, a Republican and an Independent during his 12 years as a Congressman from southside Virginia, and is well-known to voters there.

Goode lost his congressional seat in 2008. His Presidential campaign has focused on immigration both illegal and legal. He told ABC he wants a moratorium on "Green cards" that allow immigrants to legally work in the United States, until unemployment drops below 5 percent.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)