In a stunning upset propelled by tea party activists, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was defeated in Tuesday’s congressional primary, with insurgent David Brat delivering an unpredicted and devastating loss to the second most powerful Republican in the House who has widely been touted as a future speaker. [Washington Post]
IT WAS the stunner that rendered Twitter to monosyllabic expressions of shock consisting of the substance of brevity. Wow. Rep. Eric Cantor, at the heart of House power, goes down in a primary in Virginia, leaving the Republican leadership trying to figure out what just happened.
“This is an earthquake,” said former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, a friend of Cantor’s. “No one thought he’d lose.”
But Brat, tapping into conservative anger over Cantor’s role in supporting efforts to reform federal immigration laws, found a way to combat Cantor’s significant financial edge.
“Eric Cantor’s loss tonight is an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment,” said L. Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a conservative group that targeted Cantor throughout the primary. “The grassroots is in revolt and marching.”
Those like Senator John McCain who think immigration reform is a must for Republicans in 2016 don’t seem to understand that the extreme Tea Party types aren’t interested in what the establishment thinks.
Virginia is acting out this week.
Washington has a new name to learn, David Brat.
Brat was dismissed by many Republicans inside the Beltway and beyond, who saw an upstart without the brawn, dollars or organization to depose the second most powerful man in the House.
He did it by casting himself to the right of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on immigration and the Affordable Care Act “” and more importantly by giving pumped up primary voters and conservative talkers including Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham an opportunity to make an anti-establishment statement.
Last month, Brat’s Tea Party supporters booed Cantor at a key party meeting in his district. On Tuesday night, about 200 of them erupted in joy in a nondescript building in an office park in Glen Allen, Va.