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In Battleground Virginia, Franklin County Could Have Big Impact

2:44 PM, Oct 24, 2012   |    comments
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ROANOKE, Va.  (WUSA) - In political news, the race for the White House is now too close to call. The latest poll numbers show President Obama with 48 percent of the vote; Governor Romney with 46, according to a CBS News poll released Monday.

Virginia is one of the critical battleground states in this election. And that's why reporter Andrea McCarren and photojournalist Greg Guise are criss-crossing the state this week to hear directly from the voters. On Monday night, they were in Roanoke.

No matter where you live, this presidential election is historic. It is so close that the state of Virginia could be what Florida was to the 2000 election. Our team spent the day in Franklin County, a geographically small place with a potentially big impact.

Just off Main Street in Rocky Mount, Virginia, up this set of stairs, is the national campaign headquarters of former six-term Republican Congressman Virgil Goode.

 "I just see where Virg is honest.  I know he probably don't have a chance to win, but I'll sleep good with voting for him," said Keith Tosh, a Goode supporter.

Until now, rural Franklin County was best known as the nation's moonshine capital. But with Goode's conservative base in Southwest Virginia, the Constitution Party candidate could be a spoiler,  siphoning off critical votes from the leading presidential candidates, and impacting the state's 13 electoral votes.)

  "I've heard a number of times that a vote for Virgil would be considered a protest vote. And I said, a protest against what? And the answer normally is, well I don't like either candidate," said Barbara Chauncey, a Republican volunteer.

 "We love the fact that Goode is running here," one Democratic volunteer said.

Late into the night, Democratic volunteer Annette Mack worked the phones at Obama headquarters, scrambling to capitalize on the Goode factor.

"We do believe it's going to make a difference ... we believe those votes that are gonna go for Goode were probably intended for Romney," said Mack.

Goode is on the ballot in 26 states. In a race this close, even if he pulls a fraction of a percent, it could affect the outcome.

The third party presidential candidates, including Goode, have been largely ignored in the debates so far, but on Tuesday, they'll participate in a live, Internet-only debate hosted by Larry King.

After Roanoke, our team hits the road for a big day of travel Tuesday with a look at the importance of the student and the evangelical vote.

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