It was a tough task for Wayne Powell, the democrat challenging House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's 7th Congressional district. Powell was given the opportunity to give his campaign a big boost, by getting the first debate with Cantor in a decade.
Cantor is expected to cruise to re-election for the 7th time, he represents a district that is aligned with him politically, he has immense name recognition and a significant cash advantage. But Powell has mounted a spirited campaign and has gained passionate support from people unhappy with the role Cantor has played in a volatile Washington environment.
On Monday night, Powell was hoping to find an attack line that would resonate with an electorate inclined to send Cantor back to Washington. Even though the republican had everything to lose, it was still a lot to ask for the short amount of time Powell was given.
You can watch the debate in its entirety on the CSPAN web site.
Here is my recap of the debate for NBC12:
NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News, Weather, Traffic
Henrico Congressman Eric Cantor is one of the most powerful politicians in America, but in order to keep his job he still needs to win an election in November. Monday night he met face to face in a debate with the man hoping to keep him from going back to Washington.
That man is Wayne Powell. This is his first time running for political office and he had a tall task. List of all the reasons someone shouldn't support Cantor, and do it all within the confines of a one hour debate.
Powell had a lot of work to do and not very much time to do it in. In front of national television cameras (the debate was broadcast live on CSPAN2) he had to make the case that Cantor's time in congress should be over.
"You are the leader in the Congress,” Powell said to Cantor. “You've got to do these things and you’re not."
Powell looked for every opening to attack the six term Henrico congressman. From campaign donations to Washington gridlock and what he called Cantor’s inequitable support for big companies.
"He never talks about working people,” he said. “He only talks about businesses."
Despite Powell getting animated and even fiery at times, Cantor remained cool. He rarely stopped smiling and never strayed far from his key talking points.
"It's paid for by working people,” Cantor said during a long explanation on taxes. “That's why these taxes are no good and Obamacare has to go."
And while Powell, continued to drive home his points, Cantor deflected, rarely addressing them in specifics, instead calling it dirty politics.
"And the thing is none of these negative attacks do anything to create a job," Cantor said.
Powell hung tough, and argued that he was just giving the voters of the 7th district a true sense of who their Congressman really is.
"I'm not attacking you I'm describing you,” he said. “And it is a difficult process."
read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com