Does Eric Cantor’s loss mean anything outside of Virginia and DC?

“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,” reports the AP.

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.

“Obviously we came up short,” Cantor told glum supporters at a suburban Richmond hotel, conceding the race with his wife, Diane, at his side.

Today’s Question: Does Eric Cantor’s loss mean anything outside of Virginia and DC?

  • Sue de Nim

    On the plus side, it shows that a bloc of committed activists can still beat a corporate-sponsored candidate. On the other hand, it highlights the outsized influence of ideological zealots in low-turnout primaries, further demonstrating that we need election reform in this country. It’s probably a bad result for the GOP, because it will scare more undecideds away from the party.

    • Paul

      Remember that Virginia has open primaries, meaning anyone can drop in and vote. Speculation is that a whole lot of people intending to vote Democratic in November voted against Cantor in this primary and are the real factor here.

      • Max

        I would surprised if Virginia Democrats were that organized. The fact of the matter is that turn out for mid-term primaries is very low, making it much easier for a politically active group like the tea party to influence the vote. There is no need for a conspiracy theory.

        • Paul

          Oh, I would never expect any group of Democrats to be organized – we’re not good at that. But with open primaries with low turnout, it does not take many drop-ins to significantly influence the vote. And among the few Dems in that district, the dislike of Cantor is huge. I know of people who did just that in this primary.

          • Ralphy

            “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” – Will Rogers
            According to a story tonight on NPR, it was estimated that around 1,000 Democrats voted in the primary – not nearly enough to account for Cantor to lose by 11 points. I find it interesting that the day before the primary, Cantor’s internal polling showed him ahead by 20 points. I wonder if Cantor will run as a write-in or 3rd party candidate this fall. Or will he cash in his chips and become a lobbyist?

  • PaulJ

    Maybe it will remind legislators that they shouldn’t “do nothing” at work.

  • Rich in Duluth

    If he wins and goes to Congress, which is likely, it means more gridlock. He sounds like a typical, no compromise, Tea Party radical.

  • Max

    It means that all Republican candidates will be subjected to a Tea Party litmus test which will result in them losing the general election…again.

  • JQP

    1) the question of “What is the GOP brand?” is still up for debate
    2) that Koch Brothers sponsored “grass roots” campaign worked… David Brat didn’t have to spend money … the Koch_PAC took care of the heavy lifting that was needed.
    3) Open primaries are manipulated.

    the country should just go to instant run-off balloting for elections and skip the primaries – everywhere. it would save the general population a whole lot of time and save them from political halitosis.

  • Gary F

    Shouldn’t this now be labeled “Question of the Week?”

    The Koch Brothers = Emanuel Goldstein

    I think its time for your Two Minutes of Hate.

    • Joe

      I thought your pseudonym was that ridiculous Andy Breitbart face

  • Pearly


  • bob hicks

    Let’s see — a whopping 14% of eligible voters turned out, and we’re supposed to see the result as some sort of nationally-significant portent? Sorry, but it’ll take more than this to make me hyperventilate.

  • Joe

    It means there is one fewer closeted Republican member of congress, according to Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), look at the gaydars going off!