Cantor Won’t Debate Challengers
As the midterm elections approach, Virginia’s seventh congressional district has a three-candidate race where the incumbent has a distinct advantage, while Democratic and Tea Party challengers struggle to engage in direct debate. Craig Carper reports.
Eric Cantor is an entrenched, established Republican incumbent who consistently strives to set himself and others dubbed "The Young Guns" apart from the establishment in Washington. He’s done so by leveraging a reputation initially promoted by Fred Barnes, Executive Director of the conservative publication "The Weekly Standard".
At a recent signing for his new book “The Young Guns,” Cantor’s challengers were also present, though on the outside looking in, with distinctively different perspectives.
Democratic candidate Rick Waugh complains Cantor is an extremely insulated incumbent who refuses to debate or appear in public forums so the public can make direct comparisons to the candidates’ positions on the issues.
Waugh: The change we need to bring is making sure that the privileged few are not the only ones that's represented in Washington. Cantor says in his book that he’s not a Washington insider, yet he’s been up there for a decade, he’s been in politics for 18 years, yet this district has shown nothing for his service here.
While Congressman Cantor asserts that he will help breathe new life into the Republican Party and help return them to their core principles, Tea Party candidate Floyd Bayne says that he is the only conservative in the race.
Bayne stood in line to get an autographed copy of Cantor’s book, then asked him when he could expect a debate.
Bayne: He just said ‘Thanks for coming out, Floyd, it’s good to see you. Thanks for coming out.’ He never answered the question. He's not gonna debate because he knows that in the debate, I'm going to challenge him to defend his voting record and he's not gonna be able to. Only after Obama got elected and the Democrats were in charge did he rediscover conservatism. He’d like us to forget the eight years he had under Bush; I’m not going to forget it. I think we need a real conservative choice and he’s not it.
Cantor has consistently stated that he will not participate in any debates prior to the election.
Cantor: We are busy trying to solve the problems that are vexing the people in this area and in our district and that is specifically, how do we get people back to work, and unfortunately, the party in power is not receptive to some of the ideas that we are trying to promote and we’re busy seeing if we can make a difference to the people we represent.
With only 42 days until the election, it appears seventh district voters will have to make their decision without the benefit of a debate.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Richmond