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Virgil Goode, born on October 17, 1946, is an American politician who last served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He won the seat of the House of Representatives from the 5th congressional district of Virginia in 1997 and served as a member until 2009, when he lost his seat in the election to Democrat Tom Perriello.
Virgil Goode was born in Richmond in the state that he later represented in the US House of Representatives, but he spent most of his life away from the state in Rocky Mount. Goode grew up as a Democrat and entered politics soon after graduating from law school. His first taste of elections came when he ran as an independent for the election of state Senate from a Southside district following the death of the Democrat incumbent. During his campaign, he championed for the Equal Rights Amendment. After being elected in the state Senate, Goode joined the Democrats.
Virgil Goode's ties with his adopted party were, however, very loose, as on a number of issues he did not support the Democrats. The most famous of such incidents was Goode's support for the tobacco industry, when he spoke about his fear that "his elderly mother would be denied the one last pleasure of smoking a cigarette on her hospital deathbed. In addition, he was a staunch supporter of gun rights.
Virgil Goode did his B.A. from the University of Richmond and got a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was also a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. Later, he served in the Army National Guard from 1969 to 1975.
Virgil Goode was one of the first Democrats to have enthusiastically supported L. Douglas Wilder, who later became the first black man elected as a governor in the history of the United States. It was Goode who, during the 1985 Democratic Party's political convention, nominated Wilder for the position of lieutenant governor. Goode, however, lost the trust of his party later on when he angered the Democratic Party during his second run when he challenged the incumbent Senator Chuck Robb. He also faced criticism of backtracking from his stance on guns when he cracked down on the sale of guns in the state.
Later in 1995, Virgil Goode further angered his peers in the Democrats by seriously considering voting with the Republicans in the election that resulted in a 20-20 split between the Republicans and the Democrats.
Virgil Goode has also had aspirations of running for the presidential nomination. However, he is yet to enter the race.