Cantor challenged in GOP Primary

Published: May. 30, 2012 at 2:27 AM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2012 at 3:09 AM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - It may seem early, but a group of candidates are in a sprint to Election Day. It's not the November election, but the June primary that will decide who is on the ballot. It usually brings out a very low turnout, but this year, there are some big names on the ballot including one of the most powerful politicians in America.

In two weeks, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will be on the ballot hoping to secure his party's nomination, in a GOP primary.

"I think everyone should be taking elections seriously," said Cantor during a visit to the Libbie Market in Richmond on Tuesday. "This is our God-given gift as citizens of America."

Cantor doesn't seem worried about June 12 or Floyd Bayne who hopes to de-rail his march to another term.

The difference in their two campaigns is stark. Cantor, the second most powerful member of the House of Representatives brought national TV crews to Richmond. Tuesday evening, Bayne spoke to a small group of Tea Party activists in Henrico.

"We've gone to every meeting, Tea Party, Republican Party that will have me, and you just gotta get people out to vote," Bayne said.

Bayne isn't drawing big crowds but he might not need them. In 2008, less than 5% of registered voters came to the polls in congressional primaries.

"You just get out there and knock on doors and get boots on the ground," Bayne said.

Cantor may not be worried, but he isn't ignoring Bayne. He sent his supporters a letter reminding them to vote on June 12 and signs with a similar reminder have popped up around Richmond.

"We don't take anything for granted," said Cantor. "We feel very confident taking our message, that our number one concern is getting this economy back on to voters of the 7th district."

Meanwhile Bayne is hoping for a miracle. Upsetting Cantor would mean his time in congress would be over. It is unlikely, but Bayne believes not impossible.

"We need to get rid of the career politicians, we need to get some real common citizens back up there," he said.

A decision now left in the hands of voters, however small that group may be.

Cantor is not alone, 4th district Congressman Randy Forbes is facing a challenge and four people including former senator George Allen are hoping to win the republican primary for U.S. Senate.

We have extended clips from both Rep. Cantor and Mr. Bayne on Decision Virginia.

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