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Lonely quest for 3rd party presidential hopefuls

Associated Press Modified: November 3, 2012 at 11:45 am •  Published: November 3, 2012

Goode can't afford TV. His low-budget campaign has meant driving from state to state and staying in discount hotels. He's concentrated mainly on Virginia, where he held state or federal office until his congressional defeat in 2008.

First he was a Democrat, then an independent, and then came over to the GOP for his final House three terms. Goode's presidential run is under the Constitution Party banner. His name is on the ballot in a couple dozen states and he's qualified as a write-in candidate in several more. His overriding issue is a call for a freeze on legal immigration until the U.S. unemployment rate dips below 5 percent.

Republicans in Goode's home state tried unsuccessfully to keep him off the ballot. Some say he could throw the race to Obama if the outcome depends on Virginia's 13 electoral votes and Romney narrowly loses.

Goode displayed a so-what attitude as he prepared this weekend to distribute cards promoting his candidacy. It's an essential but unglamorous task for a candidate who has only four people on his payroll.

"It doesn't matter to me if it's Obama or Romney," said Goode. "Obama has done a bad job and Romney will do a bad job."

Goode and Johnson planned to attend a debate Sunday night in Washington, along with the Green Party's Jill Stein and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson.

Fittingly, the moderator is consumer watchdog Ralph Nader, the last third-party presidential candidate to send a jolt through a presidential race. Democrats still blame Nader for costing their party the presidency in 2000 because his Green Party candidacy drew nearly 100,000 votes in Florida, which Republican George W. Bush ended up winning by 537 votes over Al Gore. Nader and his supporters dismiss it as whining.