WOW, Just WOW … Dave Brat Defeats Incumbent Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia GOP Primary, 55.5% – 44.5%
Establishment Republicans were rocked this evening when US Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader lost to virtual unknown Dave Brat. To borrow a line from Al Michaels from the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY was the USA defeated the Soviet Union, “Do you believe in Miracles … YES!!! It was thought by many in the establishment that Cantor was the next in line for the Speakership; however, “We the People” had other ideas. So much for the notion that money wins these elections, Brat trailed Cantor in fundraising, pulling in $200,000 this cycle compared to Cantor’s $2 million.
In an upset for the ages, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-most powerful man in the House, was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger carried to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.
“”This is a miracle from God that just happened,” exulted David Brat, a political science professor, as his victory became clear in the congressional district around Virginia capital city.
Speaking to downcast supporters, Cantor conceded, “Obviously we came up short” in a bid for renomination to an eighth term.
The victory was by far the biggest of the 2014 campaign season for tea party forces, although last week they forced veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran into a June 24 runoff, and hope State Sen. Chris McDaniel can prevail then.
So much for Eric Cantor’s internal polling that showed him ahead of David Brat by 34 points. Oops, missed it by that much.
The poll, shared with Post Politics, shows Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor’s right. Eleven percent say they are undecided.
The internal survey of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted May 27 and 28 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. It carries a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points.
Cantor conceded the race around 8:25 p.m. — shortly after the Associated Press pronounced Cantor’s 13-year political career at least temporarily over. With nearly 98 percent of precincts reporting, Brat had 55 percent of the vote, while Cantor had 44 percent. People close to Cantor said internal polls showed him hovering near 60 percent in the runup to the race.
It’s one of the most stunning losses in modern House politics, and completely upends the GOP hierarchy in both Virginia and Washington. Cantor enjoyed a meteoric rise that took him from chief deputy whip, to minority whip to majority leader in the span of 13 years.
Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker of the House, biding his time until Ohio Rep. John Boehner wanted to retire.
UPDATE I: Victory Speech … Dollars do not Vote, You Do!