Cantor may be more vulnerable in 2012 than he has ever been before. The debt ceiling talks moved Cantor into the national spotlight and highlighted Cantor's irresponsible partisanship and reckless disregard of what is best for the nation. The 2012 elections may be the best opportunity we have to defeat Cantor, or at the very least present him with a serious challenge that will weaken his ability to help Republican candidates nationwide.
PDA was founded during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Massachusetts. PDA's mission is to strengthen the voice of progressive ideas within the Democratic Party by using "inside/outside" and "grassroots fusion" models of working both in the Democratic Party as well as working with other progressive organizations both inside and outside the Party. You can view Powell's responses to PDA's candidate questionnaire by clicking here.
The next day, Friday October 14, 2011, Powell attended the 55th Annual Celebration of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, where Dr. William Ferguson Reid was honored for his contributions to Richmond and Virginia as a whole. Ferguson--known as "Fergie" to his friends--was the first African-American surgeon in Richmond as well as the first African American elected to the Virginia General Assembly in the 20th Century in 1967. Fergie is a supporter of Powell's and is volunteering for his campaign. Imagine having the support of a local living legend? It has to be humbling.
But Powell was just getting started. The next day, on Saturday, he hit the campaign trail and spent the early afternoon visiting with Virginia's Democratic Black Caucus at their annual Turn Virginia Blue Festival. Powell met lots of great Richmond area Democrats and toured the site of Lumpkin's Slave Jail and the Old African Burial Ground, both of which are part of Richmond's Historic Slave Trail.
Powell grew up near here, on Richmond's Church Hill. As he read the historic marker he remarked that he'd heard the term "Hell's Half Acre" growing up, but he'd never understood until that day that the term referred specifically to the Lumpkin Slave Jail site. Powell was very moved by the Old African Burial Ground, which until recently had been used a parking lot. As we stood on the newly planted grass at the burial ground, Powell reflected on the need for more to be done to memorialize the site.
But that wasn't the only inspiring moment of the day for Powell. Nearly two weeks ago, Powell was in New York City and visited the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests. He was blown away by the protesters example of direct democracy in action. When Powell heard that there was an Occupy Richmond movement starting, he decided that he wanted to attend their General Assembly in Monroe Park that same day.
Powell didn't speak at the meeting; he just wanted to observe. Like many of us he was curious to find out where the Occupy Richmond protesters would decide to base their protest. Ultimately Occupy Richmond decided to occupy Kanawha Plaza in downtown Richmond.
Bookending an amazing weekend for Powell was the announcement by the Richmond Crusade for Voters that they were endorsing E. Wayne Powell for the Democratic nomination to face off against Eric Cantor in 2012. For those of you who aren't aware of this organization, the Crusade for Voters was founded in 1956 as an effort to register African American voters and expand their access to the vote. It is a revered organization with ties to the Civil Rights era. For Powell to receive their endorsement--and to receive it this early in the election season--was a tremendously exciting honor.
It was an amazing week for the Powell campaign. Excitement is building around Powell's candidacy in the local Democratic Committees. Powell is mostly focused on helping local Democrats in their races for state and local offices this year, but he is also poised to begin his campaign once this year's state and local elections are behind us.
Check out E. Wayne Powell for yourselves. Read his biography, follow his news page, and "like" his campaign's Facebook page. You can also make a donation! Eric Cantor needs a serious challenger next year, and Wayne Powell is the right person for the job.