Wayne Powell will debate Eric Cantor next month

Rep. Eric Cantor will have competition this fall. A democratic candidate has emerged, eager to take on the Republican House Majority Leader. And on Friday, September 28th, the two will have a debate.

Wayne Powell

UPDATE #1 August 20th, 2:45 PM

Democratic challenger Wayne Powell will debate House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-7th) on Friday, September 28th at a yet-named business within the 7th Congressional District. The debate will focus on the business community, job creation, and overall economic recovery.

“We are pleased to host this debate and provide a platform for both candidates to address the important issues facing our country and the Commonwealth,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, organizers of the debate. “It is important that the business community is aware of where the candidates stand on issues that impact the economy.”

— ∮∮∮ —


Wayne Powell has his eyes set on winning Virginia’s 7th congressional district. The Democratic challenger will oppose the Republican incumbent, Eric Cantor, later this fall. On the phone late last week, however, his immediate concern was his son.

Speaking from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky on Friday, Wayne’s said his son (Sean Andre Powell, Major US Army, 101st Airborne Division) is about to be shipped to Afghanistan for a nine to twelve-month tour. It is his second tour after his deployment to Iraq between 2006-07. “He’s doing what he signed up to do,” said Powell about his son. “Just like I did.”

Wayne Powell served for 30 years as a Reserve and Active Duty Army officer. He recalled being mobilized after 9/11 to command a specialized intelligence unit, the first of its kind after the terrorist attacks. He retired as a full Colonel from active duty in July 2002, receiving the Legion of Merit in the process.


  • Raised in Church Hill
  • Graduated from John Marshall High School
  • Graduated U. of Richmond in 1972 with a degree in Spanish and French
  • Earned an MA in Spanish from U. of Wisconsin, 1973
  • Received a J.D. Degree from U. Of Richmond, 1980
  • Served as a Reserve and Active Duty Army officer for 30 years
  • Spent 9 years as Assistant Attorney General of Virginia
  • President of Powell & Parrish, P.C. Since 1999

Powell was born and raised in Church Hill. At about the age of seven, his family moved to Highland Park where he spent his “entire youth.” He earned a J.D. law degree from the University of Richmond in 1980 and spent most of his 31 years of practicing law as a trial attorney. Powell said he is running for Congress to “change the dialogue in Washington.”

Speaking of Cantor, Powell called the House Majority Leader “fiscally irresponsible,” adding that “the initiatives he takes are not designed to help citizens of the 7th district.” He notes in particular the STOCK Act.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) is designed to counter insider trading involving members of Congress, their staff and associates. Eric Cantor introduced a version of the bill in 2011 after stalling previous incarnations. His version removed a provision that the Senate had previously approved that required people who trade on “political intelligence” to register as political intelligence consultants. Many see this as a form of insider trading that uses information from government, including Powell.

“He’s gutted that act,” said Powell. This is but one issue that concerns him. He decided that “instead of yelling at the television” he would take on the “dysfunctional” Congressman. It will not be easy.

On the issues

  • Favors ending tax breaks to the top 1% of earners
  • Proposes ending the 2003 “Bush Tax Cuts”
  • Supports spending to increase public education
  • Wants to reduce defense spending
  • In favor of equal rights for gay and transgendered citizens
  • Supports a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Stretching from Richmond’s West End through Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the 7th congressional district has not voted for a democratic representative since John O. Marsh, Jr. who served from 1963 – 1971. “I realize it’s an uphill battle,” said Powell. He also said that he plans to show residents of the district that “the big D [i.e. the Democratic Party] is not a dirty word.”

While many still believe Democrats have a “tax-and-spend” financial philosophy, Powell said that he is “not a tax and spend liberal.” He cites being a business owner for the last twenty years and having thirteen employees at his law offices as qualities that make him mindful of businesses and financial matters (“I know the struggles and challenges of the business man”). He says that, in addition to Democratic voters, he hopes to appeal to independent voters. He also plans to court moderate Republicans, as he feels that the Republican Party has moved “so far right” that they are not in line with most Americans, let alone residents of the 7th district. Overcoming Cantor’s name recognition, however, may prove problematic.

To counter this, Powell said that he has a “national campaign.” In addition to resources among the legal community, he has held fundraisers as far away as the West Coast. To him, not only is resonating with voters important, but also establishing the capital means to take on Cantor.

As to his opponent, Powell said “I don’t expect for him to even acknowledge me.” He said that he doubts the House Majority Leader will agree to debate him, which Powell welcomes. “He’s a pure political animal,” he said. “This is what we have to eliminate [from the political landscape in Washington].” As the campaign amplifies in the coming months, Powell is confident with what he will offer voters versus his opponent: “My resume is much better than his.”

— ∮∮∮ —


photo courtesy of the Wayne Powell campaign

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

27 comments on Wayne Powell will debate Eric Cantor next month

  1. Joe Cacciotti on said:

    Many of us agree that Eric Cantor must not be re-elected for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. This is why we are putting our support and votes in the GOP June Primary to put Floyd Bayne as the GOP contender for Congress.

    We need your help at the polls this June to show the GOP we are serious in making sure Eric Cantor is not even elected to run for Congress in November. Please help Floyd Bayne win the GOP nomination and then Floyd and Powell can fight it out to see who will win in November.

    Check Floyd Bayne out at the link below.


  2. bopst on said:

    I see a Cantor landslide.

  3. Michael Thompson on said:

    Wayne Powell will be awesome in Congress!

  4. Jacob K on said:

    It may seem hypocritical, but I voted for Bayne and now I’ll vote for Powell. I’m not voting based upon their political affiliations, but rather by their character, which Cantor most certainly lacks.

  5. Would like to wish you all the luck,because he is one person in congress who by all right needs to go,but that”s from one vet to another!!!

  6. Charles A Stile on said:

    I’m a NewYoker/Floridian who wants to help Wayne defeat Cantor-Please send list of district independents, and I’ll have friends contact them from Pa., NY, Maine, Ohio, Florida etc. on behalf of Powell.

  7. CSB on said:
  8. Kelly Clover on said:

    I would very much like to get rid of Eric Cantor. But I’m very skeptical of claims that
    Wayne Powell has a realistic chance of doing that. What I need to see is a head-to-
    head poll done by a widely accepted polling firm. What I’ve seen so far is not credible.
    The so-called polls I’ve seen look too much like something spin doctors have man-
    ufactured to get people to knock themselves out trying to win a race that’s virtually

  9. K. Walker on said:

    Eric Cantor MUST GO!!! He recently got a 5Million dollar contribution for his superpac from a Las Vegas casino owner. Cantor doesn’t have VA taxpayers best interest at heart. What can we do to help Mr Powell win?

  10. J. Burrows on said:

    Thanks to Wayne Powell for his bravery and for expressing his convictions regarding our country and its internal enemies, like the big one, Eric Cantor. Please win that 7th district seat. We need you in Washington.

  11. As a ww 2 veteran and having listened to Wayne Powell today, AND knowing what a Dirtbag Eric Cantor is, I would vote for Wayne Powell in a heartbeat. Wayne seems like a very intelligent man who has served his country in the Military with distinction, he is fed up with Cantor’s obstructions antics.
    The people of the 7th district would do very well to vote for Wayne Powell.
    Joe DeMarco ww2 Veteran/Roosevelt Democrat

  12. lois eisenberg on said:

    Saw Mr. Wayne Powell on the Ed Show, MSNBC, tonight and was most impressed
    with his decisiveness and straight forward answers .
    Just the opposite of Eric Cantor the obstructionist !!

    Eric Cantor has to be voted out with the two other stooges Boehner and McConnell and lets not forget the tea party clowns !!
    Go get’em Wayne, your type of person is disparately needed in Congress !!

  13. What is the latest polling on the Powell race; on the presidential race?

  14. Liberty666 on said:

    Go Cantor! Go Powell! Go away, thank you

  15. bopst on said:

    Cantor is going to win.

  16. Robert Grady on said:

    Eric Cantor does not serve the people of this Country or the 7th district of Virginia. He serves the special interest and the Big Money boys who help keep him in office. His arrogant strategy is:” if we make the other side look bad then we win”. It is time for Eric Cantor, AKA: Captain Gridlock, to be voted out of office and put an end to his destructive partisan politics.

  17. Robert Grady on said:

    It is time to kick Cantor’s CAN down the road.
    Wayne Powell is the best candidate we have had to run against Cantor, ever. He will serve the people and not Special Interest.

  18. CSB on said:

    I agree, and if you all really want Cantor out of office, it’s time to pony up a donation to Wayne’s campaign. Cantor has huge deep corporate pockets. Wayne needs all the community support we can give him!

  19. Rita Willis on said:

    This comment says it all! (see below where I pasted it)

    Eric Cantor does not serve the people of this Country or the 7th district of Virginia. He serves the special interest and the Big Money boys who help keep him in office. His arrogant strategy is:” if we make the other side look bad then we win”. It is time for Eric Cantor, AKA: Captain Gridlock, to be voted out of office and put an end to his destructive partisan politics.

    Wayne, where do I sign up to join your team?

  20. Mary sanderford on said:

    Mr. Powell I live in the City of Richmond and unfortunate I can not vote for you but I wish you the best of luck because Mr. Cantor needs to go.

  21. jackie on said:

    I’m an independent in ohio, and all I can say is what a heck of a resume.

  22. James O Nodine on said:

    Mr. Powell, as a citizen of Waynesboro, Va, I feel embrassed to tell anyone that I am a Virginian due to this “mental case” that claims he represents the 7th District. Here is one Virginian that will be “pulling” for you.

  23. Mitzi on said:

    I am a proud supporter of Wayne Powell for the 7th Congressional District of Virginia, in which I live, and of the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee. Can’tor has done nothing positive for his constituents nor for our country. Women for Wayne Powell is a group campaigning for Wayne and very appreciative of his offering, as a lawyer (University of Richmond Law School), to represent the peaceful women demonstrators who were confronted with riot police and arrested at the state capitol earlier this year. He is an honest and intelligent person who sees what is wrong with our country and wants to be part of the solution. He believes in social justice and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, not just the super-wealthy or super-healthy. Please support Wayne Powell and show that Yes We Can! And be sure to register to vote!

  24. Eugene Mulligan on said:

    I have contributed to the Wayne Powell campaign and will add to my support. I very much want to see him take Cantor’s seat. Gene Mulligan, Alexandria, VA

  25. Richard Lane on said:

    Eric Cantor is really bad and dangerous for this country! Cantor has an agenda that is very separate from that of the people of Virginia. Please, vote Wayne Powell to defeat this egomaniac. Cantor is no good for Virginia and is no good for the USA…

  26. Sandra Marshall on said:

    Want to make change in Washington DC? Get rid of Cantor. This is one of the biggest races we all should invest in. Without Cantor the country would be much better off and so would the folks of Virginia. Where do I send money?

  27. Cantor should go. I’m glad to see this publicity. His insider trading standpoint shows his true priorties.

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