Despite a huge financial advantage, Eric Cantor lost to David Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, in the Republican primary for Virginia’s seventh congressional district. Yes, Mr. Brat’s focus was on immigration, but he also hammered away at Eric Cantor on Mr. Cantor’s support of increasing centralization in education (Common Core), crony capitalism, and our exploding national debt. Read here in NRO John Fund’s analysis of why Mr. Cantor lost.
Eric Cantor’s loss is historic. No sitting House majority leader has lost an election since the office was created in 1899. While Cantor’s loss was a stunning surprise, the warning signals were around for a while:
1. Cantor managed to muddle his message on immigration. His direct-mail pieces claimed he was foursquare against amnesty. But the newspapers covering Washington, D.C., quoted him as saying he was seeking a compromise with President Obama on immigration. Voters resolved the seeming contradiction by deciding to vote out their establishment congressman. Cantor’s loss destroys any chance of a comprehensive immigration bill passing the House this year.
2. The majority leader outspent his opponent, David Brat, by $2.5 million to $40,000. Much of that money went to negative ads against Brat that turned off voters and were so vitriolic as not to be credible.
3. Cantor was also hurt by a subterranean campaign by Democrats to convince their supporters to vote in the Republican primary against Cantor. Apparently, some of them did.
4. Many constituents of Eric Cantor felt he had ignored them for years, rarely returning home and often ignoring them on key issues ranging from expanding Medicare prescription-drug benefits to TARP bank bailouts. The frustration boiled over at a May party meeting in his district, where Cantor was booed and his ally was ousted from his post as local party chair by a tea-party insurgent. “He did one thing in Washington and then tried to confuse us as to what he did when he came back to his district,” one Republican primary voter told me.
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