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Not Dead Yet!

Tea party candidate David Brat won a completely unexpected upset in his Republican primary, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). It is the first time ever that a House Majority Leader has lost in a primary.

The media had almost unanimously predicted that Cantor would win easily. Politico said “In other news, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor is expected to beat his primary challenger”. The Hill said “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are cruising to primary victories Tuesday after fighting Tea Party challengers every inch of the way. Both incumbents showed fire in the belly. Their campaigns are the latest proof that establishment Republicans can triumph over insurgents if they really want the win and do what it takes to turn that hope into reality.”

Oops. After this, I expect an even more dysfunctional Congress.

UPDATE: How did Brat win? Even his campaign manager doesn’t know.

UPDATE 2: Interesting articles in Slate and Salon on why Cantor lost.

UPDATE 3: A survey of different opinions on why Cantor lost, which makes some really interesting points. My favorite analysis is that while the tea party may be crazy, at least they aren’t completely in thrall to the corporations who caused the financial crisis, like the establishment Republicans are.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    People have spoken, I think Republican party should not be blamed for not compromising, people are voting for people that are strong principled. Liberals/progressives try to get most progressive guy out there, conservative is doing same.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  2. bard wrote:

    It sounds like Cantor shot himself in the foot by attacking a nobody. It got the guys name out there.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    At least the pundits got one right – Lindsey Graham won his primary. Whew. I was beginning to worry that the now right of right Publicans would be up-staged by the tea party right Publicans. I am seriously relieved.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  4. Jon wrote:

    More TEA Party candidates being elected will make already-far-right Republicans seem moderate and moderate Democrats seem radically left by comparison. Might this not be exactly the strategy?

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    An irony about Eric Cantor: “Cantor met his wife, Diana Marcy Fine, on a blind date; they were married in 1989.[15][30][69] They have three children: Evan, Jenna, and Michael. Diana Cantor is a lifelong, liberal Democrat. Contrary to her husband’s stated positions, she is pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage.[70]”(Wikipedia) she has been negating his votes at the poll all along. Maybe he will change his ways.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  6. JimM wrote:

    Re: Update 3. Did someone actually say that the Tea Party isn’t in corporate thrall? The movement was astroturfed and funded by corporate money.

    What would really be ironic is if the illusion of independence of the Tea Party led to people in office who actually believed that they weren’t beholden to large corporations. Unfortunately, that would probably just save those companies some lobbying money, as the Tea Party legislators would vote for corporate interests out of idealism rather than quid pro quo obligation.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink