by Kara Rowland
Outgunned and largely unknown, Wayne Powell, a Democrat taking on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a longshot congressional bid, is calling in reinforcements.
Powell, a retired Army colonel, has enlisted the help of a bluegrass band. But not just any musical act -- Dr. Ralph Stanley, the Grammy-award-winning artist whose tunes were featured in the 2001 film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Stanley and his group, the Clinch Mountain Boys, are lending their talents to Powell's two-day road trip throughout the 7th Congressional District.
Dubbed "O Cantor, Where Art Thou?," the "barnstorm" tour includes six stops aimed at highlighting what the Powell campaign describes as the contrast between him and the Republican incumbent. "Try to imagine Eric Cantor, with his immaculate hair and stunningly tailored suits, standing on the back of a truck beneath the summer son, roaring for economic fairness and social justice. If you can't imagine that scenario, join the club," the Democrat taunts on his website.
For his part, Cantor appears to be taking nothing for granted. He recently faced off with Powell in a debate -- the first time he's debated a rival in 10 years -- and is hitting the political newcomer hard with accusations Powell supports bigger government and higher taxes that would harm the economy.
"I support cutting taxes for small businessmen and women to help them create and retain more jobs," the Republican noted earlier this month at the debate, which was held at the Richmond-area headquarters of CarMax.