‘Mudcat’ Saunders vows to run a ‘national campaign’ against Eric Cantor

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Famed southern Democratic operative Dave “Mudcat” Saunders has signed up to take on a new target: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

In a Tuesday interview with The Daily Caller, Saunders — the colorful consultant who has worked for southern Democrats like Jim Webb, Mark Warner and John Edwards — confirmed that he’s working for Democratic congressional candidate Wayne Powell, a retired Army colonel challenging Cantor for his U.S. House seat in Virginia.

“We’re going national,” Saunders told TheDC of the Powell campaign. “And we’re going to be doing a lot of national shows.”

The campaign’s message against Cantor? “He screwed us, and us is pissed.”

“What he has done is sold out the 7th District and his country so that he could become majority leader and continue his march to the speakership,” Saunders said. “It’s all about Eric Cantor. It has nothing to with anything else.”

He added: “It’s a classic case of a guy going to Washington and buying his way to the top.”

Saunders has been with the Powell campaign for two weeks, he said.

“I wasn’t going to do a campaign this time,” the consultant said. “Had no intentions to do it. Then I met Wayne Powell. We have a good horse.”

Cantor has more than $5 million in his campaign war chest, but the hope is to gin up enough national interest in the race to raise enough money to put up a fight, Saunders said.

“We cannot win this campaign, cannot tell the story on Eric Cantor, if we don’t have bullets.”

“How are we going to raise the money? We’re going to tell the story,” he said.

And while toppling Cantor seems far-fetched, Saunders claims the district’s voters are open to someone else. “He’s not well-liked in his district. He doesn’t do town hall meetings, he shelters himself from the electorate.”

“This ain’t about red or blue,” he added. “This is about red, white and blue. This is about the health of the country. We got to stop this crap.”

Cantor was re-elected in 2010 with a 25 percentage point margin of victory over his Democratic challenger.

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