"This is an earthquake," said former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, a friend of Cantor's. "No one thought he'd lose." But Brat, tapping into conservative anger over Cantor's role in supporting efforts to reform federal immigration laws, found a way to combat Cantor's significant financial edge.Slate's Dave Weigel describes the result as "a historic defeat", adding:
"Eric Cantor's loss tonight is an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment," said L. Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a conservative group that targeted Cantor throughout the primary. "The grassroots is in revolt and marching."
Others had a different take. Longtime Virginia Republican strategist Chris LaCivita said Cantor's work to build the Republican majority had taken him away from his home district. "He spent days, weeks and months traveling the country, raising money to add to the Republican majority. What can be attributed to Eric in doing so is unquestionable. Unfortunately, it had a price."
Not since the 2004 defeat of Tom Daschle has a party's congressional majority leader lost an election; I'm still struggling to find a case where a majority leader lost a primary. And while I covered David Brat's race [against] Cantor a few times, I joined the vast majority of journalists in assuming Cantor would take this. After all: He seemed to spot the voter unrest early on, and he spent nearly $1 milllion in the final weeks, while Brat struggled to spend six figures.Weigel goes on to detail several possible reasons for Cantor's loss, including the possibility that a public campaign to persuade Democrats to vote for Cantor's challenger in the open Republican primary may have had some effect.
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