Tea Party-backed Dave Brat has upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s Republican primary today with an impressive double-digit victory. It marks the first time in American history that a sitting Majority Leader has lost in a primary race.
A Republican aide has said that the mood in the GOP establishment’s ranks is “chaos.”
Name recognition may have been a bad thing for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as he has been derided as a pro-amnesty establishment Congressman who has made war with the Tea Party. Cantor lost despite having the Washington establishment money machine behind him, outspending Brat by a wide margin.
Brat’s win follows victories by Tea Party-backed candidates in Nebraska (Ben Sasse), Iowa (Joni Ernst), and Mississippi (Chris McDaniel). McDaniel faces a run-off on June 24.
More from The Associated Press:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated Tuesday by a little-known economics professor in Virginia’s Republican primary, a stunning upset and major victory for the tea party.
Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was seen by some as a possible successor to the House speaker.
His loss to Dave Brat, a political novice with little money marks a huge victory for the tea party movement, which supported Cantor just a few years ago.
Brat had been a thorn in Cantor’s side on the campaign, casting the congressman as a Washington insider who isn’t conservative enough. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.
His message apparently scored well with voters in the 7th District.
“There needs to be a change,” said Joe Mullins, who voted in Chesterfield County Tuesday. The engineering company employee said he has friends who tried to arrange town hall meetings with Cantor, who declined their invitations.
Tiffs between the GOP’s establishment and tea party factions have flared in Virginia since tea party favorite Ken Cuccinelli lost last year’s gubernatorial race. Cantor supporters have met with stiff resistance in trying to wrest control of the state party away from tea party enthusiasts, including in the Cantor’s home district.
This election will have national implications, as a new Majority Leader will have to be chosen by the House. Also, the amnesty proposal put forth by the Senate’s Immigration Reform bill will likely die in the House without the support from Eric Cantor.
What this primary election really shows though is that the Tea Party is, in fact, well and alive, contrary to mainstream media and Progressives are saying.