Goode, who switched from a Democrat to an Independent in January 2000, announced Saturday that he would accept the GOP nomination to run for re-election this year.

When Goode, 55, left the Democratic Party after 26 years, he agreed to caucus with the Republicans in Congress. The alliance helped him get a choice assignment in the House Appropriations Committee.

Becoming a Republican will help him advance within that committee, Goode said Sunday.

"My district can be better helped if I'm a Republican member of the Appropriations Committee versus an Independent member," he said.

Goode, of Rocky Mount, also said that being listed as an Independent on the ballot of certain voting machines makes it hard for voters to locate his name.

"The last time I had to send out mailings to voters where I printed out the whole ballot and put a red circle around my name," Goode said.

Because Virginians are not required to register with a party, Goode said he didn't know when the switch would take effect officially.

Ed Matricardi, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, said Goode probably will become a Republican on paper when he files his declaration of candidacy with the state Board of Elections in April.

Goode was first elected to Congress in 1996. He is unopposed both in the June 11 primary and the November election.