erik lundegaard

Cantor, Now Castrato

Eric Cantor, defeated

Yesterday Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Majority Leader, lost his primary to a Tea Party challenger, David Brat, a university professor. Apparently it's the first time a House Majority leader has ever lost a primary battle.

In one respect, it's been a long time coming. Here's Cantor's vote totals in general elections since he was elected in 2000:

Year % Vote
2000 76%
2002 69%
2004 76%
2006 64%
2008 63%
2010 59%
2012 57%

Those are general election totals, not primaries, but you can see the trend downward. The longer he stayed in office, the less popular he became. 

What does this primary defeat mean? I can see him losing because he's a douche, but he seems to have lost because he isn't douche-y enough for Republicans in Virginia's 7th congressional district. The media has focused on his mild support for immigration reform as the reason for his downfall. Nate Cohn of the Times isn't quite sure but adds this sad, inevitable thought:

Regardless of the exact reason for Mr. Cantor’s defeat, the news media’s focus on immigration is likely to deter Republicans from supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

And what to make of David Brat? A university professor where? According to the Boston Globe ...

He teaches economics at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. Brat, who has a Ph.D. and a Masters of Divinity, teaches mostly introductory economics classes at the college, a small liberal arts school outside of Richmond. ... Brat’s previous research includes a study titled, ‘‘An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.’’ (Brat says he is not a Randian.) He frequently trumpeted the six elements of the ‘‘Republican Creed’’ on the campaign trail, which you can read at his website.

His Republican creed can be found here. I asume he's not a Randian because of the divinity thing. 

Here's more reaction via Andrew Sullivan's site.

The bigger question relates to Cantor's falling general election totals. What's going on in Virgina's 7th? (The fightin' 7th!) Were folks voting against Cantor because he was a douche, an insider, or because he was leaning too far right at a time when the 7th was becoming more centrist? We'll see in November. I'd love to be able to post this headline then: “Brat, Spanked.” But that's up to Virginia. 

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Posted at 07:32 AM on Wed. Jun 11, 2014 in category Politics  


NickBob wrote:

Not going to dig for actual data (lazy), but the geography of the district looks as if there's a demographic transition at work overall. But the Tea Party thing is nuts on steroids. The loonies at Free Republic are beside themselves that this corporate shill has aid the price for going against real America so big business can get cheap labor. But in a race against any democrat they'd have voted for him. November will be interesting, for all the wonderment today there's damn little being said about them democrat today, are they electable or cannon fodder going against the shoo-in Cantor? Howard Dean, can we get you back at the DNC?

Comment posted on Wed. Jun 11, 2014 at 01:02 PM
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