Virgil Goode: Wikis


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Virgil Goode

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Lewis Payne
Succeeded by Tom Perriello

Born October 17, 1946 (1946-10-17) (age 63)
Richmond, Virginia
Political party Democratic (1971–2000)
Independent (2000–2002)
Republican (2002–present)
Spouse(s) Lucy Dodson
Residence Rocky Mount, Virginia
Alma mater University of Richmond, University of Virginia
Occupation attorney
Religion Baptist (convert from Presbyterian)
Military service
Service/branch United States Army National Guard
Years of service 1969–1975
Unit Virginia

Virgil Hamlin Goode, Jr. (surname rhymes with mood, not would[1]), (born October 17, 1946) is an American politician and a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He represented the 5th congressional district of Virginia (map) from 1997 to 2009. He lost his seat in the 2008 election to Democrat Tom Perriello.[2]


Early life

Goode was born in Richmond, Virginia; but has spent most of his life in Rocky Mount. Goode graduated with a B.A. from the University of Richmond (Phi Beta Kappa) and with a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He also is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and served in the Army National Guard from 1969 to 1975.

State politics

Goode grew up as a Democrat.[3] He entered politics soon after graduating from law school. At the age of 27 he won a special election to the state Senate from a Southside district as an independent after the death of the Democratic incumbent. One of his major campaign focuses at the time was advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment.[4] Soon after being elected, he joined the Democrats.

Goode wore his party ties very loosely. He became famous for his support of the tobacco industry, where he spoke about his fear that "his elderly mother would be denied 'the one last pleasure' of smoking a cigarette on her hospital deathbed."[4] He was an ardent defender of gun rights while being an enthusiastic supporter of L. Douglas Wilder, who would become the first elected black governor in the history of the United States. At the Democratic Party's political convention, it was Goode who nominated Wilder for lieutenant governor in 1985. However, while governor, Wilder cracked down on the sale of guns in the state.[4] Goode ran for the U.S. Senate in 1982 and 1994 and was defeated in the Democratic primary both times, by Richard J. Davis in 1982 and by incumbent Senator Chuck Robb in 1994. He angered much of the leadership of the Virginia Democratic Party during his second run, when he challenged Robb.[4]

After the 1995 elections resulted in a 20–20 split between Democrats and Republicans, Goode seriously considered voting with the Republicans on organizing the chamber. Had he done so, the State Senate would have been under Republican control for the first time since Reconstruction (the Republicans ultimately won control outright in 1999). Goode's actions at the time "forced his party to share power with Republican lawmakers in the state legislature," which further upset the Democratic Party.[4]

Congressional career

When Congressman L.F. Payne retired in 1996, Goode won the Democratic nomination to succeed him. He won election easily, as his state senate district was virtually coextensive with the southern portion of the congressional district. During his first two terms, he compiled one of the most conservative records of any Democrat in the Congress. [5] Like many Southern Democrats, Goode strongly opposed abortion and gun control and vigorously supported the tobacco industry. His contrarian streak resulted in him being isolated within the Democratic caucus, which later led to him switching parties.[3]

Goode came under considerable fire shortly after being unopposed for a second term in 1998, when he voted for three of the four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. In January 2000, he declared himself an independent and began caucusing with the Republicans, who gave him a seat on the Appropriations Committee. He was handily re-elected that November, touting himself as a congressman who was "as independent as the people he serves." He officially became a Republican in August 2002 before the primary election, making him the first Republican to represent this district since 1889. Republicans had been lobbying him to switch parties since 1998. Reflecting on Goode's record at the time, David Brown, the mayor of Charlottesville and a former chairman of the city's Democratic Party said "It was obvious he didn't really fit in the Democratic Party anymore."[4]

For the 2001 congressional redistricting, Goode allied with Republican Bob Goodlatte and Democrat Rick Boucher to ensure that none of them would be put in the same district. Goode's home in Franklin County is only about 20 miles (32 km) south of Goodlatte's home in Roanoke, the heart of the 6th district. The counties to the west of Franklin County are in Boucher's 9th District, which had to expand due to lack of population growth. He won his first full term as a Republican in November, 2002, with 63.47% of the vote,[6] and was elected to a fifth term, and his second full term as a Republican, with 63.68% in 2004.[7] In 2006 Goode won 59% of the vote, with challenger Al Weed garnering 40% of the vote.

In 2008 Goode lost his seat, being defeated by Democrat Tom Perriello by 727 votes (0.24% of over 316,000 votes cast). While Goode won 13 of the district's 20 counties and independent cities, Perriello's margin of victory was decided in the district's more urbanized areas. Goode won only one independent city in the district, Bedford, but by only 16 votes. Ultimately, Goode could not overcome a combined 19,000-vote deficit in the Charlottesville area (Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County), where Perriello is from.[8]

Goode had filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee to allow him to raise money for a possible rematch in the 2010 elections, due to receiving "unsolicited" campaign contributions, though he said he had not decided whether or not he would run in 2010.[9]However, Goode announced in late July 2009 that would not seek the Republican nomination for the seat in 2010. [10] Nonetheless, many expect this race to be heavily targeted by the Republican Party in 2010.

Political positions

Goode's primary policy initiatives were anti-amnesty immigration reform, veterans' healthcare, and the enactment in 2004 of a $9.6 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. Goode has sponsored legislation to permit deployment of the U.S. Armed Forces to the U.S.-Mexico border. He voted in 2002 to authorize the Iraq War and in support of an $87 billion Iraq War supplemental spending bill.

Goode is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[11]

Goode voted in 2007 against a resolution opposing the increase in troop numbers in Iraq,[12] saying that he didn't want to "aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the green flag of the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country" and that "radical Muslims" wanted to control the world and put "In Muhammad We Trust" on American currency.[13]

Goode served on the Liberty Caucus (sometimes called the Liberty Committee), a group of libertarian-leaning congressional representatives.[14] Congressman Ron Paul hosts a luncheon for the Liberty Caucus every Thursday. Other members include Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[15] In the 2008 Republican primary elections for President, the Federal Election Commission reported that Goode donated $500 to Republican candidate Ron Paul.[16]



In 2005, Goode faced questions when a major corporate campaign donor, defense contractor MZM, Inc., was implicated in a bribery scandal that resulted in the criminal conviction and resignation of California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.[17] Although Goode insisted that his relations with MZM were motivated solely by his interest in bringing high-paying skilled jobs to his district, in December of that year he donated the $88,000 received in MZM contributions to regional charities.

On July 21, 2006 Richard Berglund, a former supervisor of the Martinsville, Virginia office of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to making illegal donations to Goode's campaign. Court papers indicated that Berglund and MZM owner Mitchell Wade (who previously pleaded guilty) engaged in a scheme to reimburse MZM employees for campaign donations.[18] There was no allegation of wrong-doing on the part of Goode's campaign.

2006 Qur'an controversy

In 2006, Minnesota's 5th congressional district elected Keith Ellison as the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Some criticized Ellison's intended use of the Qur'an once owned by Thomas Jefferson at a private swearing-in ceremony;[19] among them, Goode was vocal in his opposition to Ellison's plan. One of Goode's constituents posted a letter online from the congressman regarding Ellison. The letter reads in part:

When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.[20][21]

Ellison criticized Goode for this letter, stating that he is not an immigrant and that Goode does not understand Islam. Ellison also offered to meet with Goode to discuss the matter.[21] On his first day in office, Ellison sought out Goode and initiated a cordial exchange on the House floor.[22]

In interviews around that time, Goode stated that he was in favor of decreasing legal immigration to the United States and that he wanted to do away with Diversity Immigrant Visas. Goode argued that such visas would allow people "not from European countries" or from "some terrorist states" to enter America.[23] Goode also repeated his views on a January 1, 2007 post to the USA Today blog.[24]

Hummer accusation

At the 2008 Independence Day parade in Scottsville, Virginia, independent supporters of Goode drove a Hummer H3 decorated with signs promoting Goode and Robert B. Bell.[25] With gas prices at $4 a gallon, a supporter of Goode's opponent, Tom Perriello, put video of the parade on YouTube, accusing Goode of being out of touch with ordinary citizens grappling with the high cost of fuel.[26]

Goode never rode in the Hummer, and is not known to have had anything to do with it, but he was widely portrayed as having both owned and operated the vehicle.[25] He was lampooned on The Daily Show for the story.[27]

The Sunlight Foundation pointed out that among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Goode has the 13th-highest amount of investment in oil stocks, meaning that Goode stands to gain financially through high gas prices and pro-oil industry legislation.[28]

Eden's Curve controversy

In the end credits of the gay-themed film Eden's Curve, the producers list Goode in the acknowledgements. Linwood Duncan, Goode's press secretary, has a minor role as the dean of the college. A number of other Danville residents are listed in the cast and credits.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that Goode assisted in bringing to the North Theatre project was received by the North Theatre organization in 2005.

The Danville Register & Bee reported that Duncan and Goode’s wife Lucy were both on the founding board of the North Theatre. Virgil Goode checked with the House ethics committee, before Duncan or his wife Lucy went onto the North Theatre board. In the light of the controversy, Lucy Goode stepped down from the board.

In 2003, Duncan told the Register & Bee he didn’t see any conflict with the earmarked dollars. "I don’t even know how a question of a conflict even arises," he said.[29]

Sabato earmark controversy

In June 2009, it was revealed that political scientist Larry Sabato, of the Center for Politics, had been the recipient of over $7 million dollars in earmark money from Goode, whom Sabato predicted would win re-election in 2008, despite declining poll numbers; Goode ultimately lost the race by a small margin.[30] Some observers have suggested that Sabato should have revealed his financial connection to Goode or recused himself from making predictions about the race.[31]

Electoral history

Virginia's 5th congressional district: Results 1996–2008[32]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 120,323 61% George C. Landrith III 70,869 36% George R. "Tex" Wood Virginia Reform 6,627 3% *
1998 Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 73,097 99% (no candidate) Write-ins 785 1%
2000 John W. Boyd, Jr. 65,387 31% (no candidate) Virgil H. Goode, Jr. Independent 143,312 67% *
2002 Meredith M. Richards 54,805 36% Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 95,360 63% *
2004 Al C. Weed II 98,237 36% Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 172,431 64% *
2006 Al C. Weed II 84,682 40% Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 125,370 59% Joseph P. Oddo Independent Green 1,928 1% *
2008 Tom Perriello 158,810 50.11% Virgil H. Goode, Jr. 158,083 49.89% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, write-ins received 23 votes. In 1994, write-ins received 34 votes. In 1996, write-ins received 104 votes. In 2000, Joseph S. Spence received 3,936 votes (2%) and write-ins received 70 votes. In 2002, write-ins received 68 votes. In 2004, write-ins received 90 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 99 votes.

See also


  1. ^ Daily Show, Jan 09, 2007
  2. ^ "Perriello declared winner in 5th District recount", The Charlottesville Daily Progress,  
  3. ^ a b Bob Hull, Virginia House of Delegates (28 December 2006). "Delegate Hull's Richmond Report". Falls Church News-Press.   Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  4. ^ a b c d e f Michael D. Shear And Tim Craig (December 23, 2006). "Goode Has Often Inspired Political Ire". Washington Post.   Retrieved on December 29, 2006
  5. ^ [ Voteview analysis of the 105th Congress]
  6. ^ General Election - November 5, 2002
  7. ^ "Commonwealth of Virginia — General Election 2004; Vote totals US House District 5".   Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  8. ^ "November 2008 Unofficial Results". Retrieved 2008-11-08.  
  9. ^ Aaron Blake (March 12, 2009). "Former Rep. Goode files to run for old seat". The Hill.  
  10. ^ Mickey Powell (July 28, 2009). "Goode's Service Praised". Martinsville Bulletin.  
  11. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  12. ^
  13. ^ Retrieve Pages
  14. ^ "The Liberty Committee". Retrieved 2007-06-24.  
  15. ^ Caldwell, Christopher (2007-07-22). "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-21.  
  16. ^ "Transaction Costs". Federal Election Commission.   Retrieved on December 15, 2007
  17. ^ Peter Hardin (February 26, 2006). "Goode's liability in scandal unclear". Times-Dispatch.!news!politics.   Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  18. ^ Lindsy Nair (July 4, 2006). "Goode's war chest turns up new MZM donor".   Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  19. ^ Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts - But It's Thomas Jefferson's Koran! -
  20. ^ Erika Howsare (2006-12-19). "Goode makes complete ass of self: Anti-Muslim letter goes out to hundreds - not all are amused". C-Ville Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-22.  
  21. ^ a b Rachel L. Swarns (December 21, 2006). "Congressman Criticizes Election of Muslim". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-22.  
  22. ^ "Muslim congressman shakes critic's hand'". CNN. December 21, 2006.   Retrieved on January 5, 2007
  23. ^ "Ellison: Lawmaker has 'a lot to learn about Islam'". CNN. December 21, 2006.   Retrieved on December 22, 2006
  24. ^ "Opposing view: Save Judeo-Christian Values". USA Today. January 1, 2007.   Retrieved on January 4, 2007
  25. ^ a b "The real story of Virgil Goode and the Hummer". August 1, 2008.   Retrieved on August 10, 2008
  26. ^ "YouTube: Virgil Goode Grief'". YouTube. July 7, 2008.   Retrieved on Aug. 8, 2008
  27. ^ "Daily Show: Rappers or Republicans'". Comedy Central. July 29, 2008.   Retrieved on August 8, 2008
  28. ^ "The Sunlight Foundation Blog - Oil Industry Influence: Personal Finances'". Sunlight Foundation. August 8, 2008.   Retrieved on August 8, 2008
  29. ^
  30. ^ Ben Smith, Sabato's program earmark dries up, The Politico, June 19, 2009
  31. ^ Greg Sargent, Larry Sabato And The D.C. Pundit-Industrial Complex, The Plum Line, June 19, 2009
  32. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  

External links

Preceded by
Lewis F. Payne, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tom Perriello

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