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“My position is clear: no amnesty for illegal immigrants entering the country,” he said. “To do what’s right and what’s legal, you’re going to make some people mad. And we need a president who will do that.”

The 65-year-old Virginian indeed talks the talk when he calls himself a “grass-roots” candidate: stuck like many on the East Coast in recent days with no electricity, he discussed his candidacy via cellphone, saying that he could go and start up his car if he needed to charge it.

“I think in politics, every now and then you run into politicians who have a strong commitment to values,” Mr. Farnsworth said. “And Virgil Goode is one of those really committed conservatives that wants to be part of the conversation. To view him as an opportunist would be a misread.”