In a stunning upset, House Majority Leader and second most powerful Republican in the House, Eric Cantor lost the 2014 GOP Virginia primary Tuesday June 10th to David Brat, an economics professor and political novice by 11 points, 56% to 45%.
Most folks outside of Virginia were unaware Cantor was even in a race for the November mid terms let alone had heard of David Brat.
This one caught everyone by surprise and sent shock waves throughout the political landscape. This is a modern day David and Goliath story that could have some serious ramifications in the November Mid-term elections.
Cantor was assumed a shoe-in to win the Virginia 2014 Tuesday primaries. His challenger, virtually unknown and underfunded Randolph Macon college economics professor David Brat started the campaign with 40,000 in his campaign coffers while Cantor had 2 million. Brat went on to raise 200,000 of which 122,000 was recorded as spent on the campaign.
Twenty-year career political heavyweight Cantor spent 1 million plus, but it was all for naught as Brat came out on top winning the primary contest. Money cannot buy you love and in this case a political seat either. Cantor is prohibited by Virginia's "sore loser" law from appearing on the ballot as an independent candidate in November. This win is a one and done blind sider.
The 51-year-old Cantor's undoing was largely his position on immigration. Publicly Mr. Cantor seemed tepid when it came to all out ardently denouncing immigration reform. Away from press cameras, the unseated majority leader blanketed Virginia's Seventh Congressional District with fliers and television advertisements in which he stressed that he opposed an "amnesty" policy. Cantor was also perceived to be too close to the chamber while somewhat alienating his district. Case in point it is reported that he was not even in the district on Tuesday during voting.
"He tried to do one message from home (Virginia) and one message in Washington" - Karen Finney- Host MSNBC Disrupt
Meanwhile Brat gained the support of Tea Party aligned grass roots supporters and pivotal conservatives like talk show host Laura Ingraham. After Brat's stunning victory, Ingraham, one of the few high-profile conservatives to put her muscle behind Mr. Brat, said on Fox News that the primary results were "an absolute repudiation of establishment politics" and that Republican leaders should take note.
Mr. Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell in November. Coincidentally Trammell is also a professor at Randolph-Macon.
Rethinking that extended unemployment benefit position right about now are we Mr. Cantor?