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Hardly 'Goode' news for Romney in Virginia

Former Republican Rep. Virgil Goode has qualified for the presidential ballot in Virginia as the Constitution Party's nominee, which is potentially troubling news for Mitt Romney since Goode could draw votes away from the Republican presidential nominee. 

The AP

Conservative former Rep. Virgil Goode will appear on Virginia's presidential ballot after state election officials rejected a Republican-led effort to keep him off... Virginia's State Board of Elections acted Tuesday after the state GOP challenged Goode's qualifying petitions and sought an independent review.

If the Republican National Convention was all about presenting presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's softer side, the Democratic National Convention hopes to shore up key parts of President Barack Obama's voting coalition. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

The Washington Post adds:

Goode submitted more than 20,500 signatures to the elections board, far more than required. State law requires third-party candidates for president to submit 10,000 valid signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. Goode got significant help collecting signatures from the Independent Green party, which assisted Goode because he supports the party’s top issue — more spending for passenger rail.

But the Post points out that Republicans will continue to challenge Goode (pronounced "GUUUU-ed") being on the ballot in Virginia. 

“Even before our letter, the Attorney General was conducting a criminal investigation into issues with Mr. Goode’s petitions,” said Virginia GOP chairman Pat Mullins. “We have simply reported to the [State Board of Eletions] additional systemic problems that warrant review. These problems display, at best, a stunning disregard for Virginia law. Mr. Goode owes the citizens of Virginia an explanation about the irregularities in his petitions.”

With polls showing President Obama and Romney locked in a tight contest in the crucial battleground state of Virginia -- with Obama holding a slight advantage there, according to most polls -- Goode drawing any votes away from Romney could hurt the GOP's chances in November. 

Michelle Obama has become her husband's best campaigner, and aides say she will try to project empathy toward struggling middle class families and motivate women voters. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.