Friday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show," Rachel Maddow discussed how a little-known third party candidate could scuttle Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)'s electoral chances in the state of Virginia and thereby cost him the presidency.

At the outset of the segment, Maddow pointed out that according to some polls, the Democrats have gotten a slight bounce out of their convention, but reminded viewers that "National polls do not decide elections." Elections are decided state by state according to the electoral college.

"It doesn't matter how many votes Mitt Romney gets in California, he's going to lose that state. It doesn't matter how many votes President (Barack) Obama gets in Oklahoma, he's going to lose Oklahoma, no matter what. It's only the states that are in contention that really matter. They are the only ones that get fought over once the campaign has been joined in earnest."

And now that we are in the post-convention part of this election cycle, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa will become the focus of intense campaigning. This is where the remainder of the election cycle will be fought out, according to Maddow.

What's notable is that some states that are normally swing states are not being targeted as battleground states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are not a part of the Romney campaign's media "carpet bombing" of the U.S..

"And then there's Virginia," Maddow said. "Virginia has been weird all year for quite different reasons."

Virginia didn't even have a Republican primary election this year. Getting on the ballot in Virginia requires meeting a fairly stringent set of requirements. Of the 6 candidates who ran in the GOP primary, only Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) were actually on the Virginia ballot.

One person who did make it on to the ballot for the general election in November, however, is the hard-right Constitution Party candidate and former Republican congressman Rep. Virgil Goode, Jr. (VA). Goode has been a Democrat and Republican, but in this election cycle has cast himself as an ultra-conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

According to Maddow, this is the last thing that Romney wants to see on the ballot in that state. Salon writer Steve Kornacki joined Maddow to discuss how Goode stands a good chance of actiong as a spoiler for Romney in the Commonwealth by siphoning away Tea Party and other far-right voters, and thereby throwing the election by denying the former governor of the number of electoral votes by a wide margin.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Romney supporter, is trying to have Goode taken off of the ballot in the fall, but whether he'll be successful remains to be seen.

Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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