Professor David Brat Defeats House #2 Republican, Eric Cantor, as the American Wind Shifts
There was a political earthquake on Tuesday night after the polling stations closed for Virginia’s primary elections. Can you feel it?
The #2 Republican in the House, Eric Cantor, lost his primary to a college professor and political neophyte. Cantor, House Majority Leader, was running for an eighth term in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, against Tea-Party backed economics professor Dave Brat, but Brat was also running on good old Republican principles that often are no longer followed. Let us all also remember, as Brat reminded us, the grassroots of Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already and poured support his way, because he was running a common sense campaign.
Cantor has only faced a primary opponent twice before, and he was a favorite among Tea Partiers in 2010. Cantor conceded the race with 97% of precincts reporting from the Richmond-area district. Cantor trailed Dave Brat 55% to 44%, according to the State Board of Election’s website. Turnout was low.
Brat won Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Louisa County, New Kent County, and Chesterfield County. Cantor won Richmond City, Spotsylvania County, Orange County, and Culpeper County–by 57 votes.
From our pal Tom White at Virginia Right – Who had Predicted the Outcome of the Dave Brat / Eric Cantor Primary Race:
White’s initial reaction: We will see a completely different tone from Dave. He and I have been friends for several years. The man teaches ethics and is an expert in third world economics. His platform was simple. The Republican Creed.
They are calling him TEA Party. He is not. He never attended a TEA Party meeting to my knowledge other than to speak. He is simply a guy that gets it.
This also spells the end of John Boehner. Not tomorrow, but his much talked about retirement will come sooner rather than later. I believe this will mark the day Boehner’s hold on power started a downhill spiral.
The implications of defeating a sitting House Leader losing a primary are huge. Not since 1994 with … Tom Foley – has this happened.
It has been a long road to get here, but Eric Cantor’s defeat sends a strong message to the world, but especially to Washington. There are consequences for your actions.
Dave and his wife Laura both hugged me and expressed their thanks. Dave will be there for 2 terms and then promises to step down. I have supported politicians in the past, including Cantor, who forget who you are as soon as an election is over. I am 100% confident that Dave will keep his personal cell and Ican call him and get an answer any time.
I am on cloud 9 tonight and still more to write.
Dave Brat celebrated his stunning victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for the Republican nomination on Tuesday night in a phone interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
The tea party-backed candidate attributed his victory to God and to grassroots efforts, calling the win a “miracle.”
“If you go door to door knocking, the American people know the country is headed in the wrong direction,” Brat said. “I attribute [the win] to God… God acted through the people on my behalf.”
“I know there are a lot of long faces here tonight,” Cantor told supporters. “It’s disappointing, sure!” as Cantor gave his concession speech.
While Brat, speaking to an ecstatic crowd, said: “This is the happiest moment, obviously, of my life.”
This result was a huge blow to the Republican establishment. Republicans are hoping to pick up six seats to gain a Senate majority, and are considered heavy favorites to retain a House majority.
“We all saw how far outside the mainstream this Republican Congress was with Eric Cantor at the helm, now we will see them run further to the far right with the Tea Party striking fear into the heart of every Republican on the ballot,” said Representative Steve Israel of New York, who heads the House Democratic campaign committee.
During the primary campaign, Brat repeatedly accused Cantor of supporting some immigration reform principles, including “amnesty” for undocumented workers. In response, Cantor had sent voters a mailer boasting of his role in trying to kill a House immigration bill that included that provision.
Brat also accused Cantor of losing touch with his central Virginia district while serving the party’s leadership.
Republican strategists suggested Cantor had been too slow to realize how real the threat from Brat was.
“Easiest way to lose a campaign is to not take your opponent seriously,” tweeted strategist Matt Mackowiak.
More From Tom White: I cannot believe it. I still cannot believe it. We were considering if the Old Dominion would have its first Speaker since 1843. Instead we have instead this historic event: Congressional Quarterly was quoted on Fox News that this was the first time in US history that a Majority Leader of the House was defeated in a primary.
Yet here we are: They have talked since just after 8 pm about how Brat shocked/stunned Majority Leader Cong. Eric Cantor.
My analysis: Yes, the immigration issue was important to this election. Yes Tea Party people were mad as hell. BUT I think it was the negativity and deceits with which Cong. Cantor started his campaign with. Not a wave the flag and rah, rah, rah – Virginia’s first Speaker perhaps since 1843/look what I can and have do for you! But instead we had lies: Brat is a liberal professor who refused to stand up to Governor Kaine in raising taxes and wrote a scholarly paper who called for income redistribution (The other writer of that paper said Cantor’s interpretation of the paper was a lie) and other untruths.
Well, this is a little bit like UKIP’s win in the UK European elections two weeks ago. It is a political earthquake. I am not sure I can get my head around it. I had hoped against hope that Brat would win but I thought it would be something like 52-48% for Cantor. I thought so little about it, I did not even live blog the election. (And don’t even ask me about Senator Lindsay Graham – of course the six opponents were not effective in persuading SC Republicans to ditch Graham. No one in a hour long debate mentioned the Mark of the Beast type biometric ID card Graham once called for for EVERY American worker! I have to root for the enemy in SC. Graham is unacceptable to me and is an enemy of liberty.)
The Hanover Tea Party groups are dancing on the ceiling as Lionel Richie would say it. Between the Sarvis vote last year (The Libertarian got 30% more percentage of the vote in Hanover and King William than statewide) and this Hanover earthquake, stated below, local pols ought to fear the tea party:
Brat 8734 67.79%
Cantor 4150 32.21%
In New Kent, the votes weren’t the same but the percentage was similar (63-37) and in vote rich Henrico, Brat won by just over a thousand votes (10,819 to 9,420). But that was enough to win!
It’s time for that sweet tea and celebrate this victory. But tomorrow, this is your Democrat opponent: Jack Trammell. Yes, an Randolph-Macon College professor. Ashland calls itself the Center of the Universe. Well, R-MC is the center of the political universe right now! This election ought to be an idea fest! (Yes I am aware of the Libertarian, too – James Carr. I hope he makes the ballot and he will add to the ideas for sure.) Brat was on Fox tonight with a cogent message, amazing the talking heads. By the end of the week, there be a Facebook page: Dave Brat for President! But I am not counting my races before November. I walked through one gasoline fire for Brat and I’ll walk through another to vote for Brat in November!