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Tiny presence, unknown impact for 3rd parties

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Virgil Goode are blips in the presidential race, but even that might make them a big deal.

Democratic President Barack Obama's campaign quietly has been keeping track of the two former Republican officeholders who could prove pivotal in key states where he and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are in a tight race.

Johnson is a former New Mexico governor running as the Libertarian Party nominee. Goode is a conservative ex-congressman from Virginia competing as the Constitution Party candidate.

Romney's campaign insists it's not worried, even though Republican allies have failed to keep them off state ballots.

Their standing matters most in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia.

In 2008, more than 2 million voters chose someone other than the major party nominee.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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