After representing Virginia’s conservative 7th district for thirteen years, House majority leader Eric Cantor lost to economics professor Dave Brat in a shocking upset.
This is the first time that this has ever happened to a House majority leader, and it will have lasting repercussions for Virginia politics and President Obama, according to POLITICO.
The upset was particularly surprising because all of polls pointed towards Cantor’s triumph. Both Cantor’s campaign and the Daily Caller distributed polls that showed Cantor winning with a sizable margin, but Cantor instead lost by 11 points. Many have labeled this year as “the year that the establishment strikes back,” according to POLITICO, but Cantor may have struck back to hard.
Cantor’s $2 million campaign may have been overkill for an opponent that was barely on the radar. Putting so much energy and funds into fighting against Brat showed the voters that Brat was a worthwhile candidate.
While Brat accused Cantor of supporting immigration reform too much, the Obama administration accused him of delaying negotiations about reform. Regardless, passing immigration reform laws will now be almost impossible, particularly because many Republicans may interpret this loss as a warning sign to back even further away from this issue and more.
In addition, Cantor’s departure leaves no clear leader in the Virginia GOP. Ed Gillespie, who is the underdog in a campaign against Sen. Mark Warner (D), “is now arguably the most important Republican in the state,” according to POLITICO.
Meanwhile, the commotion over the 7th congressional district upset has almost completely overshadowed the highly anticipated Eighth District primary election. Former Lt. Gov. of Virginia Don Beyer defeated seven other Democratic candidates with 47 percent of the votes. Since the district tends to be strongly liberal, it is almost certain that he will win the general election in November and replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D), according to The Washington Times.