No 2 House Republican loses his primary

June 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost in his Republican primary election to a little-known economics professor, a stunning upset for the No. 2 Republican in the House and a major victory for the ultraconservative tea party movement.

Cantor, viewed as a possible successor to House Speaker John Boehner, was taken down by a political novice with little money named Dave Brat. His win marked the biggest triumph this year for tea party supporters who until a few years ago backed Cantor, a former state legislator who rose to Majority Leader in 2011.

This is a huge upset. Cantor lost, and lost decisively (12% margin) despite having the far larger budget ($5 million to $200,000).

Cantor was on the right wing of the . The American Conservative Union scored him 84/100 in the last session and 95/100 lifetime rating. The National Taxpayers Union gave him a B- which was about average for .

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41 Responses to “No 2 House Republican loses his primary”

  1. mjw (401 comments) says:

    Not trying to be clever here, but I think the big winner is Hillary Clinton.

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  2. gump (1,683 comments) says:

    There’s a lot of dead wood in the Republican ranks.

    Hopefully this will remind the other incumbents that they can’t take their candidature for granted,

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  3. mikenmild (12,390 comments) says:

    I thought Cantor rated pretty solidly far right and has Tea Party support. Perhaps the base didn’t like having the only Jewish Republican in congress.

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  4. virtualmark (1,306 comments) says:

    But, but, but … money wins elections right?

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  5. Nigel Kearney (1,097 comments) says:

    There is a lot of dead wood but Cantor lost because he wouldn’t match the other candidate’s hard-line position on immigration, not because of differences about economic policy. I’m pretty sure the tea wasn’t dumped into Boston harbour because of concern about too many people coming to settle in America.

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  6. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    The Republicans are acting a bit like a mirror image of NZ Labour. The Grassroots are pushing them away from the centre and making them unelectable.

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  7. Neil (577 comments) says:

    Nigel is quite correct.Earlier in the month news came out about 80 000 children waiting over the Texas border in Mexico waiting to enter the country illegally. Obviously it has had an impact on the primary.
    Cantor was NOT a Tea Party person. He was solid conservative, a man ready to negotiate and the only Jew in the GOP Reps caucus. His opponent is hard to type cast however what is concerning is that the Tea Party types are NOT willing to negotiate and compromise.
    One other incumbent reps member was defeated in a GOP primary, however that person happened to be 91 years of age.
    Keep an eye out on the run off for the Mississippi senate seat between inmcumbent 76 year old Thad Cochran and Tea Party,right wing supported McSweeney. If Cochran loses look for more problems in the GOP with senators like Cruz,Paul and Tubio. Part of the No Team in the GOP.

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  8. tas (655 comments) says:

    So much for the tea party being dead.

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  9. cha (4,140 comments) says:

    Barking.

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  10. unaha-closp (1,067 comments) says:

    If Cochran loses look for more problems in the GOP with senators like Cruz, Paul and Tubio. Part of the No Team in the GOP.

    Paul is against immigration, since when?

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  11. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    The only reason that the Tea Party has been losing primaries lately (until now) is that the establishment has completely caved in and adopted Tea Party positions. Cantor had it seems, but lost anyway: so the reason might have been non-ideological – a perception that Cantor was ignoring his district.

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  12. Dom Knots (155 comments) says:

    Perhaps Eric will take a little time out to think of the Palestinian people he advocates depriving of the minimal aid they do get. So long, Eric. I hope you wind up working an onion ring stand outside Home Depot and get signed up for military service by some flashy bullshit artist in a nice uniform.

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  13. cha (4,140 comments) says:

    heh

    Former congressman Ben Jones (D-Ga.), better known as “Cooter” from Dukes of Hazzard, has a plan to knock Eric Cantor out of the House. He’s urging his fellow Democrats to cross over and vote for a tea party-backed candidate in Virginia’s primary election.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/06/ben-cooter-jones_n_5463196.html

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  14. Don the Kiwi (1,814 comments) says:

    This was not so much a Tea Party victory, as the grass roots of the Repubs being pissed off with Cantor and other long serving Repubs, that they are going along with Obumbler.
    Further, the Republicans are not against immigration per se – they want the borders more strictly patrolled to prevent the open illegal immigration that is happening and Obumbler is welcoming them because they’ll boost his constituency.

    Dave Brat campaigned purely on Republican Party principles and, though he was supported by Tea party people, that was not his campaign strategy.

    TEA Taxed Enough Already. Of course they are building support nationwide – O Bummer has increased taxes more that at any time in US history – in peacetime.

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  15. tamati (75 comments) says:

    Out of the 280 Republicans in congress there are precisely 1 African-American and no non-Christians. Hmmmm

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  16. JC (951 comments) says:

    Cantor had Tea Party support earlier on but his go with OBummer on immigration killed him at the moment of the Childrens’ Crusade.. 40,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border and 140,000 or so expected in 2015.

    No nation can sustain that sort of illegal migration for long when its all costs and no return for many years if ever and basically no nation can survive if it can’t police its own borders.

    As for the TP being ultra conservative.. bulldust.. they are people who expect Congress to stand against executive power and not let Obama run roughshod over the Constitution plus they support the 1st and 2nd Amendments in particular.. both under threat at the moment.

    Now add in that disgraceful release of five extremely dangerous Taleban terrorists for one probable deserter and traitor soldier without the mandatory requirement to notify Congress and you’ve got a plurality of Americans pissed off, not just the TP.
    Jesus!.. just look at the Pax Americana in the Middle East, the Stans, Russia, China Sea and a dozen other places to see the absolute disaster of US foreign policy and the TP are Far Right to complain?

    JC

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  17. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    As I pointed out earlier today, this result renders even more incoherent, Rob Hoskings’ NBR comparison of the US Tea Party with the NZ Far Left and Labour factions.

    Perhaps this could inspire some Labour folk to help Hosking out in his analysis and take down Mallard or one of the pieces of senior Labour dead wood.

    As far as Cantor is concerned the four factors that killed him were, in order:
    – Immigration, immigration, immigration. In particular the massive increase in recent weeks of teenage illegal aliens being carted across the US-Mexican border by criminal gangs making a buck, and with no sign of parents. That’s being blamed on Obama opening his gob about Amnesty, but Cantor was not far behind and he happened to be a more visible target.

    – talk but no action where government spending and other government expansion was concerned. It will be interesting to look up exactly what pieces of legislation Cantor pushed that earned him his lifetime rating from the ACU.

    – incompetent election organising and taking it all for granted. The tactics of his team were’t earning him brownie points either. Relying on his minions to apply scorched-earth methods while sitting on his ass in a Starbucks cafe talking with lobbyists makes him look like another D.C. insider, irrespective of his words.

    – No more people like Arlen Specter or Charlie Crist.

    P.S Jesus milky, can’t you come up with better trolling than that piece of Moulitsas-style crap? ;)

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  18. Bullion (70 comments) says:

    Cantor spent US$168k at steak houses during the campaign.

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jun/11/chuck-todd/rare-feat-cantor-spent-more-steakhouses-opponent-d/

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  19. Redbaiter (10,426 comments) says:

    “I thought Cantor rated pretty solidly far right and has Tea Party support.”

    You’re always worse than clueless.

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  20. Redbaiter (10,426 comments) says:

    “If Cochran loses look for more problems in the GOP with senators like Cruz,Paul and Tubio.”

    Smirk….

    Yeah, look out for that Tubio, he’s something else.

    Is there anything worse than TVOne/ TV3 / RNZ propaganda fed NZers talking as if they know something about US politics?

    FFS…

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  21. Redbaiter (10,426 comments) says:

    “I’m pretty sure the tea wasn’t dumped into Boston harbour because of concern about too many people coming to settle in America.”

    Why don’t you stop bitching incessantly about immigration Nigel?

    There are enough dromgools in the US now without encouraging millions more who have no synergy with the Constitutional Republic that made US at one time the most free country on earth.

    You damn fools who think there’s no downside to invasion by another culture with no idea of how the Constitutional Republic works, and that these invaders should be given the vote, need your fucking heads read.

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  22. kowtow (8,940 comments) says:

    Not a huge upset.

    A huge victory.

    Immigration is a big issue for a lot of voting, working,taxpayers.

    And as the UKIP and FN have shown in Europe ,the permanent political classes and out of touch elites need to listen to the people.

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  23. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    the ultraconservative tea party movement.

    Ultraconservative, really? I would have said conservative, maybe even right wing.

    The Taliban is an ultra-conservative organisation. They’ll cut your fingers/hands/nose/head off if you don’t obey old religious dogma, in full, at all times.

    All this hyperbole in the media does not help the democratic process to work as it should.

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  24. kowtow (8,940 comments) says:

    tamati (63 comments) says:
    June 12th, 2014 at 5:05 pm
    Out of the 280 Republicans in congress there are precisely 1 African-American and no non-Christians. Hmmmm

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    And the point of that comment was………?

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Ahhhh the irony. After allowing mass immigration of Hispanics for decades, they’ve now risen to become an enormous bloc which both parties have to worry about pandering to, particularly on the question of allowing even more immigration. There are now even Hispanic super-PACs with immigration as a key priority.

    It’s a treadmill which the U.S. will now never get off. And the debate there echoes that happening here:

    Henry Cisneros, the housing secretary under former President Bill Clinton, is co-chairman of a new task force on immigration set up by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The other task force co-chairmen are ex-Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour and ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.

    “The Republican Party doesn’t want to get pigeonholed as anti-immigration and anti-Latino,” said Cisneros

    See what he did there? If you’re anti-immigration you’re also anti-immigrants. A racist, in other words. Couldn’t possibly oppose immigration without irrationally hating the immigrants; just isn’t possible, it seems. And you’ve got key GOP figures presumably approving of this language.

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  26. CrazyIvan (92 comments) says:

    It’s not simply a backlash against immigration when Lindsay Graham, one of the Republican proponents of reform easily won his primary against 6 challengers, winning with 57% of the vote.

    This looks more a backlash against the perception that current republicans are too engrossed with power and the big policy issues in Washington and were not good ‘constituent representatives.’ Cantor is apparently one of the worst, despite being less than two hours from his district he was hardly seen in Richmond. His voters didn’t care about him being the next Speaker of the House, they wanted him to represent their views. So they used the democratic process and removed him.

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  27. publicwatchdog (3,148 comments) says:

    Gee – wonder what the polls & political commentators were predicting? Penny Bright

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  28. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    @CrazyIvan

    Graham’s challengers were lacklustre, most of them unknowns with little profile. According to a very good in-depth look at his campaign in The Atlantic:

    Graham left nothing to chance… He raised $13 million and seeded a formidable campaign operation, with more than 5,000 precinct captains and six field offices around the state. Through a combination of intimidation and enticement… he kept the most prominent potential opponents out of the race. His six challengers include a state senator and five candidates seeking their first elected office; combined, they have raised about $2 million.

    Cantor certainly seemed to arrogantly think he could win without that sort of effort. But he faced stronger challengers, who made his supposedly soft stance on immigration a key issue.

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  29. Ed Snack (1,940 comments) says:

    Until just a short while ago Cantor was well ahead. Tom Hunter has it about correct as i read it, Cantor lost because of of immigration, but especially because this current huge dustup over child immigration. Cantor was seen as one of the primary Republican pushers of amnesty and in encouraging the surge of child immigration. If this had hit the news now instead of last week Cantor would have probably won easily.

    And what’s this “ultra-conservative” crap, on that basis Obama surely must be far radical left, if judged by the same criteria. Now some may like to claim he is, but the claim that the TP is “ultra” deserves to be treated with the same dismissiveness as most treat such claims about Obama.

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  30. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    If you’re anti-immigration you’re also anti-immigrants. A racist, in other words.

    I think this angle of attack is starting to run out of gas, simply because some of the brighter left-wing parties in the world – not the US Democrats obviously – are starting to wake up to the fact that their own base is starting to run scared of the effects on them of such immigration.

    Let us return to the glorious commentary of hardline, Hard-Left, I-AM-NOT-A-RACIST …. Psycho Milt:

    DPF, Key, Rudman or one of these other idiots needs to present some argument to explain why restricting immigration to 15,000 is shameful, racist xenophobia while restricting immigration to 40,000 is embracing multiculturalism and welcoming diversity. Good luck finding one, because there isn’t one.

    and best of all
    ….
    :

    I don’t find applying controls on immigration to be racist, so no apologetics are necessary

    See! The GOP have a clear run this year on US immigration, at least on KB, although we’ve yet to hear from milky – or Russell Brown. :)

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  31. polemic (460 comments) says:

    I would say that Hilary Clinton would be very pleased with this Cantor upset

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  32. Dexter (317 comments) says:

    One would hope it was due to a protest vote and Americans really wouldn’t otherwise elect someone whose answer to market regulation is to replace it with religious indoctrination….

    “What would be a better ethic? Well, for Brat that’s simple enough: Christianity. He realizes that markets can fail, but he doesn’t think regulation is the answer. He thinks religion is. “If markets are bad, which they are, that means people are bad, which they are,” he says in a 2011 paper. The answer is to “preach the gospel and change hearts and souls,” so we can “make all of the people good”—which means “markets will be good” too.”

    You couldn’t make this stuff up…

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  33. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    They dodged a bullet when they rolled Cantor. He obviously is a dud politician to have misread this situation.

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  34. ShawnLH (6,668 comments) says:

    Mikenmild has been at either the Stupid Pills or the Liberal Koolaid a lot lately.

    “I thought Cantor rated pretty solidly far right and has Tea Party support. Perhaps the base didn’t like having the only Jewish Republican in congress.”

    If you had a clue, which you don’t, you would know that the Republican base is fiercely pro-Israel and pro-Jewish.

    But hey, making stupid, dumbass comments like this is at least entertaining.

    Is there some kind of course you lefties go on to achieve such levels of idiocy, or does it just come naturally to you?

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  35. Yoza (1,926 comments) says:

    ShawnLH (2,553 comments) says:
    June 13th, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Mikenmild has been at either the Stupid Pills or the Liberal Koolaid a lot lately.

    “I thought Cantor rated pretty solidly far right and has Tea Party support. Perhaps the base didn’t like having the only Jewish Republican in congress.”

    If you had a clue, which you don’t, you would know that the Republican base is fiercely pro-Israel and pro-Jewish.

    But hey, making stupid, dumbass comments like this is at least entertaining.

    Perhaps you could enlighten us Shawn, who are the other Jewish Republicans in congress?

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  36. ShawnLH (6,668 comments) says:

    “Perhaps you could enlighten us Shawn,”

    Sadly your beyond being able to be enlightened Yowza. Too much Marxist crap in your head. But for what it’s worth:

    “Jewish Republicans are not exotic.

    I’m getting a bit weary of reading commentary on Rep. Cantor’s election loss implying that Jewish Republicans are some sort of exotic, rare phenomenon. Yes, there are a lot more Jewish Democrats than Jewish Republicans. But survey data shows that about 15-20% of Jews identify as Republicans and, if you include “leaners,” it’s close to 30%. (And of course, this blog has quite a few contributors who are Jewish and Republican, or Republican-leaning).

    So why was Cantor the only Jewish Republican in the House, compared to dozens of Democrats? Before a Jewish Republican can be elected to Congress, you need a viable Jewish candidate who lives in a district inclined to vote GOP. The vast majority of American Jews live in a few major metro areas–L.A., NY, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Florida, DC, Bay Area–that collectively send precious few Republicans to Congress.

    Moreover, a significant percentage of Jewish Republicans, probably around one-third, are Orthodox Jews, who are even more concentrated in big metro areas, and in the especially Democratic urban cores and inner suburbs of those areas. Not to mention that national politics isn’t terribly compatible with a strictly Orthodox lifestyle (Joe Lieberman was on the very modern side of modern Orthodoxy, and managed to get a ruling from his rabbi that he could vote in the Senate on Shabbat; American Orthodoxy, however, is increasingly dominated by stricter styles of Orthodoxy).

    The other major Jewish demographic that leans Republican is Jews from the former Soviet Union. Besides obvious language and cultural barriers, the “Russians” are also concentrated in the inner core of Democrat-dominated major metro areas, especially New York.”

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  37. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    The Republican party has allowed its-self to be taken over by hardcore activists who turn up to meetings get registered and vote in primaries. These people do not represent mainstream voters. So there is a disconnect between the activists and the voters. The NZ Labour Party has a similar problem. The National Party members remain broadly representative of its voters and so does its caucus. That is a major strength. There is no room for complacency. But when Party members are routinely ignored, where members of a political party face discrimination in the workplace (the Shane Taurima case comes to mind) who wants to be a member. I have ceased active membership for those reasons though I remain a supporter.

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  38. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    The Republican party has allowed its-self to be taken over by hardcore activists who turn up to meetings get registered and vote in primaries. These people do not represent mainstream voters.

    I can’t imagine a better example of an unthinking prejudice that is exploded by the very story to which it is applied.

    The whole deal with Cantor – and the wider Republican party – is very much a story of elites being in charge who do not represent mainstream voters and who don’t even listen to them on any number of issues. They’re supporters of Cantor, are heavily tied in to corporate interests who are pushing as hard for immigration “reform” in the US as any Democrat, dismiss ordinary GOP voters as xenophobic rubes and nutters, and have the majority of the money.

    And they just lost.

    But right now they’re telling themselves the same thing that you are; that the other side does not represent mainstream voters and so that cannot possibly be the reason they failed in the case of Cantor.

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  39. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    Bewildered by people trying to make something of Cantor being Jewish. That really had nothing to do with anything.

    The reality is that Cantor and Boehner have been selling their support base down the river on the immigration issue by supporting amnesty measures. It’s been a betrayal, and Cantor has been a massive fool to think he could get away with supporting those positions without backlash.

    It’s nothing to do with “hardliners” or even the Tea Party. It’s a simple case of “don’t piss off your voters”. It’s been noted that Lindsay Graham won easily, but he is a different case – an incumbent Senator against disparate and dubious opposition, and he has never pretended to be anything other than the sopping wet moderate he is. People knew what they were getting.

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  40. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    To have a tea party
    (to have a tea party)
    We’re gonna need a tea pot
    (we’re gonna need a tea pot)
    To have a tea party
    (to have a tea party)
    We’re gonna need something else…

    http://www.alimartell.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/wiggles.gif

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  41. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    Bewildered by people trying to make something of Cantor being Jewish. That really had nothing to do with anything.

    Why are you bewildered? In the US it was nothing more than a desperate little sideshow of Democratic attack dogs willing to say anything to distract from the immigration issue, filtered all the way down to KB in New Zealand via various US Democrat blog sites read by a few local lefties with nothing else to say on the issue but determined to troll for a bit of fun.

    They already knew it had nothing to do with anything. I don’t get why you’re surprised by this?

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