Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Cantor, Powell to debate tonight — will be on CSPAN
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, is due to have only his second general-election debate as a congressman.
Tonight Cantor will debate Democratic challenger Wayne Powell in Richmond, at a forum sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. It’s only open to Chamber members who have bought tickets, but it will also be broadcast live on CSPAN 2, and online here: http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/. The debate starts at 7 p.m.
Cantor’s last general-election debate was against Ben “Cooter” Jones, of Dukes of Hazzard fame, in 2002.
The Chamber debate is expected to focus on economic and business issues. It will be moderated by Virginia political analyst Bob Holsworth.
The race between Cantor and Powell is one that skipped over the veneer of politeness and went straight to bare-knuckle campaigning. Powell, who has not run for political office before, hired colorful campaign consultant Dave “Mudcat” Saunders to shape his message. Using a series of appearances on national liberal talk-radio shows, the two seek to paint Cantor as a Washington fat-cat politician who cares little for his district. Case in point, a new ad Powell is launching tomorrow that lists Cantor’s campaign donations from lobbyists and oil, banking and pharmaceutical interests, while accusing the congressman of being impossible for regular constituents to reach.
The Cantor campaign has called the Powell operation “vulgar” and “relentlessly negative.” They also have pointed out that Powell neglected to file a required financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House of Representatives, and helped alert media to a bar complaint filed against Powell (Powell says that bar complaint is baseless and that the failure to file the disclosure statement was an oversight that has been corrected).
Tonight’s debate is the only scheduled debate in the 7th District campaign.
The 7th covers most of Richmond’s western and northern suburbs, and stretches up to cover all of Orange, Louisa and Culpeper counties, and most of Spotsylvania County.