Tuesday, June 10, 2014

House Majority Leader ousted

Last month's Congressional primary races among Republicans went to incumbents/establishment candidates pretty much across the board.

But as I write this, June's primary contests have started off with a bang.

In a stunning upset, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, has lost the Republican primary to Dave Brat, a Richmond-area college professor who ran to Mr. Cantor’s right.

Mr. Cantor was expected to cruise to victory, although he had been pushed to portray himself as a hard-liner, especially on immigration.

The results were foreshadowed at a district convention last month in Henrico County, Mr. Cantor’s home base, when conservatives ousted one of his loyalists as chairman while he looked on.

So is this an isolated incident where an "establishment" candidate is defeated by an opponent who moved to the incumbent's right or has the TEA Party's demise truly been exaggerated? I guess we'll find out as other results trickle in.

Obviously there's always concern when an incumbent who has consistently won general elections (like Cantor, who is in his 7th term) is pushed aside for a more conservative upstart. That doesn't appear to be an issue here given the 7th Congressional District of Virginia is an R+10 district with Mitt Romney having won there last presidential election by a whopping 15 points. So as much as Democrats may be tempted to cackle with glee over this one, this doesn't look like it will be a rare 2014 flip for them. Per Derek Willis of the New York Times, one potential Democrat candidate (Jack Trammell) hasn't even registered with the FEC due to minuscule funding. One other Dem said to be in the mix (Mike Dickinson) barely has over $1,000 cash on hand.

A couple of months ago, House Speaker John Boehner mocked GOP colleagues in the House for their hesitance to address to the immigration issue (i.e. support amnesty). Given what happened to Cantor tonight, it appears the citizens of VA-07 aren't all that desirous for amnesty either.

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