5 Possible Reasons Top Republican Eric Cantor Lost His Primary to an Unknown

Eric CantorHoly moly! In news no one saw coming ... House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary in Virginia Tuesday night to the virtually unknown Dave Brat, a Tea Party-backed candidate who believes in the free market and "adherence to the Constitution."

An economics professor and political newbie took down the second highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives in a primary. Want to hear something even more impressive? Cantor reportedly spent $5 million in his reelection effort, while Brat spent a measly $122,000. Like I said -- holy moly! And he won with a whopping 56 percent of the vote to Cantor's 44 percent.


What the heck happened? Here are a few theories floating around the Conservative blogosphere tonight, which basically imploded with the news.

Amnesty: Brat campaigned heavily on Cantor's support of immigration reforms that would possibly grant amnesty to millions of people living illegally in the United States. Most Americans are pro-immigration, but quite a few are concerned with rewarding the people who broke the law to be here.

“If you go knocking door to door, you’ll know the American people think they’re in trouble,” Brat told Fox News. “It was a miracle. God gave us this win.”

Democrats Helped: Virginia is an open-primary state that does not require registered voters to affiliate with a particular party. Brat won a number of districts that went to Obama in 2012, causing the speculation that Dems turned out to vote for him just to knock a high-ranking Republican out of office.

I don't buy this one personally, as the Dems in the district didn't have a real horse in the race. Why rally around kicking Cantor out without having a suitably groomed replacement to put in the race? There was one last-minute addition to the ballot, a "sacrificial lamb" if you will, who was never intended to beat Eric Cantor. Jack Trammell may have a chance now, he may not ... but he was never intended to be a strong contender in the race.

Tea Party Support: Damn Tea Party just won't die, will it? Meh, Brat said he enjoyed the grassroots support but is firmly focused on Republican principles of free markets and Constitutionality.

Eric Cantor the Jerk: Eric Cantor hasn't been shy about wanting to become the Speaker of the House when John Boehner steps down. He turned his attention away from his constituents and toward the K Street lobbyists, and the folks back home didn't like that.

As Fox News contributor Erick Erickson summed up, "Cantor lost his race because he was running for Speaker of the House of Representatives while his constituents wanted a congressman."

More Change Please: It could be as simple as people being sick and tired of the status quo and wanting some real change. We keep electing the same people over and over and guess what? Congressional approval ratings are still terrible. Why should people with horrible performance reviews keep their jobs?

Why do you think Eric Cantor lost his primary to an unknown candidate?


Image via FordSchool/Flickr

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