House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's little-known Democratic opponent is launching his first TV campaign ad in Cantor's central Virginia district, intending to grab the attention this week of cable viewers of Fox News' coverage of the Republican National Convention.
The ad declares: "Wayne Powell: a Democrat who just might be your kind of Republican," referring to the 61-year-old lawyer and retired Army colonel who in his first race for elected office is challenging the No. 2 House Republican.
The Powell campaign also suggested Monday that Cantor's own party may be intentionally limiting his visibility during its convention this week in Tampa.
There was no immediate response from the Cantor team to that assertion, or to the Powell TV ad.
The ad itself does not mention Cantor by name.
Instead, it provides a candid illustration by Powell of the uphill battle in running against Cantor in Virginia's newly aligned and Republican-leaning 7th Congressional District.
Powell rings the doorbell of a home, and when a man opens the door, he begins to outline his positions, including that he wants to rein in government runaway spending and fight big corporations that are sending jobs overseas.
When he is finished, the man extends his hand to Powell and says, "Wayne, you're my kind of Republican."
"I'm a Democrat," Powell responds. The man then recoils, and slams the door.
The Powell team says the ad will run district-wide about once an hour on Fox News for the entire convention, and that it is indicative of Powell's strategy of reaching out to all voters regardless of their political affiliation.
In their announcement of the ad, the Powell team also point to public opinion polling done for their camp by Hickman Analytics, Inc., that show--even though Powell is relatively unknown--that Cantor is not particularly popular in his district,
"It hasn't mattered if they're party-affiliated or independent. I have yet to knock on a single door where the person answering is happy with what's going on in the Cantor-run Congress," said Powell in a statement announcing his TV ad.
Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, Powell's campaign strategist, said the selection of cable news channel Fox News was intentional: "Wayne is excited to address 7th District Republican and Independent viewers of the Convention, and there's no better place to reach them than Fox News."
Saunders also suggested, in a statement, that Cantor's visibility is being kept limited during the GOP convention. "Without question, Cantor's abysmal approval rating is the reason Republicans aren't letting him address the convention," said Saunders.