In a primary election that Paul Rothenberg, a non-partisan political analyst, called “the political version of the San Francisco earthquake,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.; shown on left) lost overwhelmingly to obscure economics professor Dave Brat (on right in photo). This is the first time since 1899 that a House Majority Leader has lost his reelection bid in his party’s primary. Despite being outspent by Cantor by more than 25-to-1, Brat breezed to victory on Tuesday, capturing 55 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.
Virtually ignored by establishment Republican groups such as Club for Growth and Heritage Action, Bart won by basing his campaign on Cantor’s waffling on such issues as immigration, cutting government spending, and ObamaCare. He also won with the help of conservative political commentators such as Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter. Brat’s victory, according to Ingraham, was fueled by voters’ “fury with the GOP establishment on fiscal issues and immigration.” She added:
The lives of most Americans aren't getting any better year after year. Their wages are down or flat as the cost of living is going up.
And for the last two years they've seen Eric Cantor focus an inordinate amount of time on how to improve the lives of illegal immigrants. So why should they be expected to return the same politicians back to Washington?
Eric Cantor was perceived as arrogant and disconnected — and voters thought it was time that he try to find a real job in this lousy economy.
Brat first came to the attention of Larry Nordvig, the executive director of the Richmond Tea Party, last fall following a speech he made at a fundraiser. Nordvig liked what he heard and met with Brat afterwards:
I asked him 45 minutes of questions afterward ... about what he would do about deficit spending, what he would do about ObamaCare, what he would do about amnesty ... and he gave very satisfactory answers....
Between his appearance and his bearing and his answers to tough questions, I knew we had the right man for the job....
It’s a big decision to fire your congressman and replace him with someone else, but I think people are tired of hearing the rhetoric and seeing the opposite of what they’re looking for in a conservative leader.
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Photos of Eric Cantor (left) and Dave Brat: AP Images