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Shop Talk: Out of the Game

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a veteran Democratic strategist in Virginia, has made his way back to campaign politics after taking a more than three-year hiatus.

Saunders is advising the campaign of Wayne Powell, a retired Army officer who is waging an uphill battle against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
(R-Va.) in a Republican-favored district.

Saunders has been on a media barnstorming tour in recent weeks in an effort to boost the name recognition of Powell, including appearances on MSNBC shows and a piece on the Huffington Post criticizing Cantor.

Best known for his work on now-Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) 2001 gubernatorial campaign, Saunders, a Roanoke-area resident, told Roll Call he took a reprieve from politics following the long days on the 2008 presidential campaign of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). He also served as a senior strategist for Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in 2006.

Democratic pollster Harrison Hickman conducted a poll for Powell in early June that found Cantor up by double digits. Saunders said there is a path to victory if Powell can raise the money, increase Cantor’s unfavorable rating and benefit from the get-out-the-vote operation of both President Barack Obama and former Gov. Tim Kaine’s (D) Senate campaign.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.

Correction: July 31, 5:08 p.m.

 An earlier version of this article misstated that Ted Prill works at Red Maverick Media. He no longer does.

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