VA-07: Damn. What was that? An earthquake?

cantorThe seismometers were going wild around Richmond, Virginia tonight.  A political earthquake appears to have catapulted the House Majority Leader into those very crowded unemployment lines:

In a stunning upset, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost the GOP Virginia primary Tuesday night to Dave Brat, an economics professor and political novice.

The Associated Press called the race for Cantor about an hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. ET.

Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was widely seen as the  next in line to succeed House Speaker John Boehner.

Cantor’s loss to a political novice with little money marks a huge victory for the Tea Party movement, which supported Cantor just a few years ago.

Brat had been a thorn in Cantor’s side on the campaign, casting the congressman as a Washington insider who isn’t conservative enough. His message apparently scored well with voters in the 7th District.

“There needs to be a change,” said Joe Mullins, who voted in Chesterfield County Tuesday. The engineering company employee said he has friends who tried to arrange town hall meetings with Cantor, who declined their invitations.

It’s probably because Cantor was so busy meddling in primaries in other states.  Cantor and his PACs have been active in Renee Ellmers’ races here in North Carolina.  They basically purchased the 8th district’s  Richard Hudson in 2012, and 7th district nominee David Rouzer this year.  MORE:

Tiffs between the GOP’s establishment and Tea Party factions have flared in Virginia since Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli lost last year’s gubernatorial race. Cantor supporters have met with stiff resistance in trying to wrest control of the state party away from Tea party enthusiasts, including in the Cantor’s home district.

Brat teaches at Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school north of Richmond. He raised just more than $200,000 for his campaign, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

Beltway-based groups also spent heavily in the race. The American Chemistry Council, whose members include many blue chip companies, spent more than $300,000 on TV ads promoting Cantor. It’s the group’s only independent expenditure so far this election year. Political arms of the American College of Radiology, the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Realtors had five-figure independent spending to promote Cantor. […]

See? You tick off your base enough, and NO amount of money will save you.  (Pay attention, Thom.)  MORE: 

[…] Brat offset the cash disadvantage with endorsements from conservative activists like radio host Laura Ingraham, and with help from local Tea Party activists angry at Cantor.brat

Much of the campaign centered on immigration, where critics on both sides have recently taken aim at Cantor.

Brat has accused the House majority leader of being a top cheerleader for “amnesty” for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Cantor has responded forcefully by boasting in mailers of blocking Senate plans “to give illegal aliens amnesty.”

It was a change in tone for Cantor, who has repeatedly voiced support for giving citizenship to certain immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. Cantor and House GOP leaders have advocated a step-by-step approach rather than the comprehensive bill backed by the Senate. They’ve made no move to bring legislation to a vote and appear increasingly unlikely to act this year.

Cantor, a former state legislator, was elected to Congress in 2000. He became majority leader in 2011.

The final margin appears to have been in the neighborhood of 56-44.  Not even close. 

I had the chance to hear one of the leaders of the Richmond area Tea Party — in Cantor’s district — speak at a warTea Party event here.  This guy and his organization were clearly polished, professional, and organized.  We’ve got a lot of frustrated, angry folks here in North Carolina but have no vehicle for channeling those feelings into positive change.  Tea Partiers here in the Tar Heel State can learn a hell of a lot from studying the work of Team Brat in Virginia.

Our politicians here in The Tar Heel State can learn something from what happened tonight in The Old Dominion.  You CAN choose to cater to your PAC friends and shrug off and patronize the little people back home.  You CAN choose to sniff the posterior of your party leaders on Capitol Hill and on Jones Street.  What happened to Eric Cantor CAN happen to YOU.

17 thoughts on “VA-07: Damn. What was that? An earthquake?

  1. Lifelong Republican checking in. Bring on the Tillis evisceration. Tar and feather the SOB.

  2. This is why it’s OK to have our conservatives turn out for Rhodes or even Haugh…the importance of beating Hagan pales compared to the importance of showing Party bosses that we decide, not them, whom our Nominees are, and they’ll pay for trying to impose their will over ours.

    But Conservatives MUST turn out this November! Forget the Senate race, we need to maintain our hold on the NC Supreme Court. And for the few NC GOP Representatives worth keeping in Congress, conservatives staying home could result in Democrat upsets.

    1. Yes, the courts are hugely important. Do you have a list of candidates that conservatives should support? When are the ballots out for viewing?

      1. Supreme Court – Martin or Lewis for Chief Justice, Levinson AND Hunter for Associate Justices,

        Court of Appeals – Holcombe and Southern

  3. Too bad VA primaries were not first, the NC races might end up differently if went to the polls now. Oh well, all we can do is apply pressure to the GOP candidates and find good people to run in future elections.

    The GOP ground game is poor at best, good luck finding volunteers if they continue down the path to fight conservatives more than they take on the hard left central planning policies.

    1. I think it is a reasonable guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the NCGOP Executive Committee will not vote for Tillis. They saw his antics at the 2013 Convention trying to block a HOT Lanes resolution.

      The 2014 state convention could not even make quorum! Yes it can be difficult to get quorum at specially scheduled meetings, but normally the Sunday after state convention is not a problem.

      How do you get volunteers to willingly hand out literature with Thom’s name at the top, when party officers themselves don’t like the nominee?

    2. I actually think that Cantor was beaten BECAUSE Ellmers won while blabbing about amnesty. I think this emboldened him to feel free to discuss the DREAM act and such, thinking that amnesty would damage him. He miscalculated because Brat was a superb and likeable candidate, spoke simply but with passion, and broke complicated ideas down to a level anyone could understand.

      In a screwy way, we can thank Ellmers for Cantor’s loss.

  4. The corrupt Republican Establishment bought the Senate nomination for Tillis. The Repbulican base voter despises the GOP Establishment. Unless Tillis clearly and convincingly demonstrates that he will not go to Washington to kiss the ring of the establishment, he is probably toast in the general election.

  5. According to numerous news reports Brat did not get any support from FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express nor Tea Party Patriots and had to go it alone.

    Is this true or did these groups rally round Brat?


    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading an effort to protect incumbents who have taken votes upsetting to the Tea Party, including lifting the nation’s debt ceiling to avoid a national default. Cantor voted in favor of that, an act that Brat targeted for criticism.

    “This rocks the Republican conference, for sure. Eric’s been a fantastic leader and a good friend. It’s a shocking, disappointing night,” said Representative Patrick McHenry* , a North Carolina Republican.

    *Shhh no one tell McHenry. Have another sip of Kool-Aid there “big” guy.

    1. If I lived in the 2nd district, I’d just vote for Aiken. If there is going to have a representative who votes like a Democrat anyway, why allow them the privilege of “housing one of their own” in the Republican party? Better to pry out a lousy incumbent and free up an open primary for 2016.

  7. As a conservative if I lived in the 2nd District I’d vote for Aiken just to spite the establishment. Having a Dem airhead against a Repub airhead at least he may only serve one term but once reelected it is hard to remove them.

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