The sitting Republican Majority Leader has been knocked off by an upstart college professor, thanks in part to a grassroots storm that has been culminating for years.
I will admit that I predicted that Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) would easily survive tonight’s primary challenge, but I was wrong. It is incredibly clear, with the vote totals sitting where they are at this moment, that Dave Brat is going to be the Republican nominee.
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District is eminently safe, so while Brat was certainly not my selection, he is going to be a Congressman come January of 2015, save catastrophe. I will be the first to back him as the Republican nominee.
Over the next few days, there will be a lot of post mortem conversations brewing. After the results of the 7th District interparty fight earlier this year, it’s clear that the Cantor political axis not only dropped the ball, but failed to engage in the same sport as their opposition.
There will also be a lot of discussion about who voted in this electorate, but without party registration, there’s no way of discussing that impact.
For those that will draw a primary vs. convention narrative out of this, you would be wise to consider the fact that Cantor would’ve also lost a convention — perhaps in an even more convincing fashion. If anything, tonight’s results are a vindication for my constant advice — “If you want to beat a Republican incumbent, do it in a primary.”
I will also admit, tonight, that I am a bit shocked to be a member of a Republican Party which will oust Cantor, who whipped every Republican into opposing Obamacare, but South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham looks like he’ll decimate his Tea Party opponents.
All of this being said, congratulations to Dave Brat and his team. They have made political history, and here’s hoping they continue pounding the pavement to ensure that the man who ousted the Republican Majority Leader contributes to a stronger majority in 2015.