Elizabeth Warren has some strong words for Eric Cantor and his new job at an investment bank.
Less than two months after his stunning primary upset and just hours after stepping down as House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives effective Aug. 18.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) asserted on Sunday that Congress had not passed comprehensive immigration reform because its “largest opponent” was President Barack Obama.
In an interview on Fox News, Price defended Republicans who were insisting that the party replace House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) with someone who opposed immigration reform after he lost his primary last week.
Fox News host Chris Wallace reminded Price that former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had lost to Obama by 44 points among Hispanic voters in 2012.
"Don’t you have to do something to appeal more?" Wallace wondered. "And immigration is certainly one of the things that Hispanics care about. Don’t you have to do something if you’re going to avoid getting in real trouble at the ballot box in 2014, and especially 2016?"
Price agreed that the immigration system was broken, but argued “that it is the president that is the largest opponent to immigration reform.”
"It was Mitt Romney who lost among Hispanics, sir," Wallace noted.
"That doesn’t negate the fact that President Obama in 2011 who said the border is secure," Price insisted. "The president was being deceitful with the American people on this."
"What did he do this weekend to correct that?" the Georgia Republican continued. "He went and gave a hyper-partisan commencement speech, and then went and played golf. That’s the frustration that my constituents have. This is a president who is disengaged on solving this challenge of immigration."
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think the man personally responsible for making sure that the Democrats could not pass a discharge petition to reopen the government after Republicans shut it down — a shutdown that cost the economy $24 billion, did great damage to our businesses, and whose party has cost our economy at least 750,000 jobs with threats of default — is the last person who should be attacking anyone else for the shape our economy is in.
"In fact I think he’d be interesting because he started dialogues on poverty and some other issues that were sort of outside of what Republicans have traditionally talked about. So he could bring a very interesting voice into that space," he said.
h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM
WE NOW KNOW WHO WILL BE RUNNING TO REPLACE ERIC CANTOR AS HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Raúl Labrador Will Challenge Kevin McCarthy For House Majority Leader
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) will challenge House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca) to replace Eric Cantor as the next House Majority Leader, he announced in a statement Friday.
“I want a House Leadership team that reflects the best of our conference. A leadership team that can bring the Republican conference together,” Labrador, first elected to the House in 2010, said. “A leadership team that can help unite and grow our party. Americans don’t believe their leaders in Washington are listening and now is the time to change that.”
Labrador’s entrance adds some competition to the race after some McCarthy challengers either declined a run (Rep. Jeb Hensarling) or abandoned one (Rep. Pete Sessions).
Source: Dylan Scott for Talking Points Memo
WOW, I'M SPEECHLESS: Ted Nugent compares Jewish Congressman Eric Cantor to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels [TW: Anti-Semitism, Ableism, Racism, Ethnocentrism, White Privilege] *You'll get why I posted the other trigger warnings at the end of this post.
Former rock star and political gadfly Ted Nugent celebrated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss to Tea Party candidate David Brat, comparing the GOP’s only Jewish congressional member to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
Writing for ‘birther’ conspiracy website World Net Daily, Nugent urged readers “Let’s go ‘Eric Cantor’ on them all!,” by throwing out politicians who indulge in “Joseph Goebbels and Saul Alinsky smoke-and-mirrors politics.”
“I say we the people have had way more than enough compromise, backpedaling, Joseph Goebbels and Saul Alinsky smoke-and-mirrors politics for one generation, and I say it’s about time we go Eric Cantor on the whole gang of deceivers and liars infesting our government right now,” he wrote. ” There’s only so much decent people can take.”
Nugent is no stranger to using Nazi imagery to make a political point, having recently come under fire for calling President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” a term favored by Der Stürmer publisher Julius Streicher who wrote: ‘The Jew is a mongrel. He has hereditary tendencies from Aryans, Asiatics, Negroes, and from the Mongolians. Evil always preponderates in the case of a mongrel.”
Nugent later made a roundabout apology for using Nazi rhetoric, without acknowledging it’s history, instead calling it “street fighter terminology.”
Previously Nugent called members of the Department of Justice, “jack boot Nazi motherf*ckers,” and animal rights supporters, “”f*cking retarded mongrels.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity quickly covered for conservative radio host Mark Levin on Tuesday after Levin used coarse language to urge Republicans not to make inroads with women or communities of color.
“Stop chasing ethnic groups, stop chasing genitalia,” Levin told Hannity. “Talk to the American people. Talk about liberty, opportunity. Explain to them that [President Barack] Obama’s wrong, and that we need to unleash the American people and unleash the economy.”
“You might be making news with that ‘genitalia’ remark,” Hannity responded. “But those that don’t know you don’t know your sense of humor.”
The “joke” appeared to be a rebuke to recent GOP efforts to avoid making themselves look intolerant,particularly regarding issues related to immigration and african-american voters. The party has also been accused of conducting a “war on women” due to its consistently conservative — at times radical — views opposing reproductive health rights.
Hannity noted that Levin was one of several radio personalities who supported Tea Party challenger Dave Brat’s upset win over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th congressional district earlier in the day. Brat’s campaign facebook page features pictures of not only Levin, but Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, among others.
The page also contains pictures of former President Ronald Reagan, and both Hannity and Levin compared Brat’s win to Reagan’s winning the support of the “Moral Majority” movement as he rose to the top of the GOP in 1980.
“People are yearning for a leader,” Levin told Hannity. “They do not like the status quo, whether it’s defended by Republicans or Democrats.”
Levin then accused the Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of marginalizing other conservatives.
“This isn’t a joke to the American people,” he said. “This is their future. And we see the country slipping away — at least, the kind of country that we want — and why is it so hard for these guys to articulate our principles? They talk about Reagan, but they’re rockefeller republicans.”
Earlier this year, Levin said on his radio show that marriage equality “affects society” in a way similar to incest. Last year, he also called for “cockroaches” to be purged from the Republican Party.
Watch the interview between Levin and Hannity, as posted on tuesday by media matters, below.
Just days after Rep. Eric Cantor was ousted in a Republican primary, right-wing media are outraged at the ideological credentials of his likely replacement as House majority leader. Conservatives are calling Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “dimwitted,” “pro-amnesty,” and “just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”
The Washington Post reported that McCarthy is the “overwhelming front-runner” to be the majority leader after he “appeared to have consolidated ranks in almost every corner of the House GOP caucus and seemed well positioned to win next week’s snap election to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor.” The Los Angeles Times similarlyreported McCarthy “is all but assured of becoming the next House majority leader.”
Cantor has endorsed his “dear friend” McCarthy, stating: “He’d make an outstanding majority leader, and I will be backing him with my full support.”
But the prospect of McCarthy replacing Cantor has drawn strong condemnation from conservative pundits, including radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, who campaigned against Cantor.
On his June 10 broadcast, radio host Mark Levin said Republicans need “a conservative in that slot, not that dimwitted McCarthy.” On June 12, Levin said that McCarthy has positions that “are identical to Cantor’s and Boehner’s. He’s a moderate Republican, he’s pro-amnesty. He was the Republican whip. Do you know what the Republican whip means? It means whip them into line. Whip the votes into line. He not only went along with [House Speaker John] Boehner and Cantor on all these issues, but he was the enforcer.” Levin also tweeted, “House GOP learned nothing from Cantor defeat; pushing disastrous McCarthy for majority leader.”
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said on the June 11 edition of Fox & Friends that McCarthy is “kind of joined at the hip” with Cantor and Boehner on immigration reform. She added that if “they put Kevin McCarthy in there, I think they’re creating more problems for themselves.” On her radio show on June 12, Ingraham said McCarthy “is more out there on immigration reform, I think, coming from California too, than Eric Cantor was. So if you loved Eric Cantor, you’re going to just — you’re going to have a man crush on Kevin McCarthy. That’s going to work out really well for us.”
Erick Erickson wrote a June 11 RedState post headlined, “Not McCarthy.” The Fox News contributor wrote that “McCarthy is not very conservative and, for all of Cantor’s faults, lacks Cantor’s intelligence on a number of issues. Lest we forget, McCarthy had several high profile screw ups as Whip and has not really seemed to ever improve over time.” In another post called “The Stupid Party,” Erickson wrote that McCarthy “is just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”
The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein wrote that if “Republicans respond to the shocking primary defeat of Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., by elevating his handpicked successor Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., it would be beyond tone-deaf. It would be pure absurdity.” Klein went on to complain that McCarthy “voted for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that included spending that was unrelated to providing emergency aid, fought for the farm and food stamp bill, fought reforms to the federal sugar program, and backed an extension of the corporate welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.”
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor tweeted that “GOP picking McCarthy shows DC elites are not serious about listening to grassroots. They need to lose more elections” and ”#GOP desperate to lose base by backing McCarthy. #tonedeaf.”
Republican congressmen Steve King and Steve Stockman chatted with the far-right website WorldNetDaily yesterday, where they praised Eric Cantor’s GOP primary defeat and blamed President Obama for an increase in border crossings by young people, mainly from Central America.
King and Stockman agreed that Obama is using “a Cloward-Piven maneuver” to “flood” the country with immigrants in order to increase the share of the Democratic vote, particularly in Texas.
Stockman called Obama a “Leninist,” while King said that the U.S. could “send in George Patton and the Third Army” as in “the Battle of the Bulge.”“I do feel this attempt to flood the border with illegals is a playing out of the Cloward-Piven theory,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
“If you don’t see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it’s a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal,” he told WND.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, agreed that Obama – who studied the chaos strategy at Columbia, according to a classmate – “is trying to do a Cloward-Piven thing with the border.”
“Obama follows all the far-left, Leninist, socialist-type stuff,” Stockman told WND.
He said it’s “an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state,” with a Democrat majority.
“If we lose Texas, and it becomes like California, then the Republicans lose the chance of ever getting a Republican elected president,” the Texas lawmaker warned.
King agreed that one of the aims of the illegal-alien flood is to turn Texas into a Democrat state.
“You or I could shut that thing down in less than a week,” he said. “Instead of busing and flying illegals out of Texas, you fly enforcement people in.”
King said that while the U.S. is spending $7 a mile to defend the border, “we need to take people to plug the leak.”
“It’s the Battle of the Bulge down there, and you send in George Patton and the Third Army to relieve the surrounded 101st Airborne,” King said.
King said the shocking primary defeat Tuesday of House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia was about immigration.
“The voters stepped up and supported a candidate who has done an excellent job of articulating how important it is to restore the rule of law as a component of American exceptionalism,” he said, referring to tea-party candidate David Brat.
Cantor has expressed support for the principles of Obama’s proposed DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to illegal aliens who came to the U.S. as children.
“The establishment will try to spin this, but Cantor’s loss reflects a voter rejection of amnesty, and it should put the brakes on any effort to move amnesty legislation in the House,” King said.
Stockman said the “key to Cantor losing was that the conservatives – including talk radio – united behind one candidate instead of what happened in my race where you had different people on our side supporting different GOP candidates.”
H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW
Former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is praising the primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor, who before becoming majority leader himself was involved in one of DeLay’s casino gambling campaign financing schemes, as a victory for a Christian revolution.
DeLay told the Washington Times’ Andy Parks today that far-right challenger David Brat’s victory was a “spiritual revival” and a sign that pastors and “a lot of Christians that had never been elections before got involved” in politics.
“I’m not trying to be arrogant or a know-it-all but this is what I’ve been calling for well over a year now: spiritual revival and a revolution for the Constitution. I saw this as a manifestation of that,” DeLay said. “As I travel around the country what I hear from people, particularly Christians, is that they want to bring God back into the public arena, they want a revolution for the Constitution, they want constitutional government and they have a huge thirst for leadership.”
DeLay also described Cantor’s defeat as a loss for the progressive movement and the separation of church and state. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, was actually a reliable Religious Right ally.
“People of faith are standing up now and they’re saying no more, enough is enough, we’re going to fight for what we believe in, we’re going to fight for our Christian — Judeo-Christian — values and we’re not going to take it anymore,” DeLay told Parks. “We need to defeat those who want to get God out of the [public] square and it’s happening, it happened last night with the Brat-Cantor race.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
BREAKING: Eric Cantor to Step Down as Majority Leader, Will Not Be Entering 2014 Campaign Again As A Write-In
WASHINGTON — Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, will resign his leadership position within weeks, according to leadership aides. The move follows a stunning defeat in a primary election Tuesday in which voters rejected him in favor of a more conservative candidate.
The move culminated a precipitous fall for Mr. Cantor, who was thought to be a likely successor to Speaker John A. Boehner.
By stepping down as majority leader, an aide to Mr. Cantor said, he hoped to limit a festering struggle within the House Republican caucus over who would assume his post.
Mr. Cantor attended a meeting with other members of the leadership Wednesday morning in advance of a larger meeting of Republican members set for 4 p.m. He definitively told aides and other Republican leaders that he would not mount a write-in campaign this fall against the Tea Party candidate, David Brat, who defeated him soundly in the Virginia Republican primary.
He declared, “To run a write-in campaign is to run not as a Republican, and I am a Republican,” according to witnesses who were at an extended leadership meeting in the Capitol.
Where Eric Cantor Won and Lost
Map of the results and charts of his margins in previous elections.
Top House Republicans called a 4 p.m. meeting of all Republican members as the scramble to remake the Republican leadership swung into high gear just hours after Mr. Cantor’s surprise defeat. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican, made it clear he will seek Mr. Cantor’s soon-to-be-vacant No. 2 slot. But he will be challenged by Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the House Rules Committee chairman.
Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mr. McCarthy’s chief deputy whip, will square off against Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, for Mr. McCarthy’s House majority whip position.
But other wild cards are looming. Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, publicly thanked House colleagues for encouraging him to join the leadership race.
“There are many ways to advance the causes of freedom and free enterprise, and I am prayerfully considering the best way I can serve in those efforts,” he said.
Other potential challengers include Representatives Tom Price and Tom Graves of Georgia.
The contest between Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Sessions will tug hard at the Tea Party class of 2010.
Mr. Sessions headed the National Republican Congressional Committee the year of the Tea Party wave, and he enters the leadership race with the large Texas delegation behind him.
But Mr. McCarthy headed candidate recruitment in 2010. He pushed to expand the electoral map into long-held Democratic districts, pursued unusual candidates that he believed fit the newly drawn districts of 2010, and crisscrossed the country on their behalf. He also brings his own large whip operation to the race to counter the Texans.
House Republicans said the longer the fights fester below the surface, the more chance the campaigns could turn ugly and spread, sweeping in other targets, even Speaker John A. Boehner. One senior House Republican said, the party “can’t have a leadership race muddle all that we do until the November election,” and he encouraged leaders to make sure the races wrap up before the July 4 recess.
Another member said the faster the races can be run, the better the chance Mr. McCarthy has to become majority leader – and Mr. Cantor wants to smooth his advance. Otherwise, he added, “chaos could rein.”
CBS This Morning hosted its political analyst Frank Luntz to discuss House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Republican primary loss to Dave Brat. An upset Luntz said that Cantor’s defeat was “a great loss not just for Virginia, but for the country.” But at no point did CBS News or Luntz disclose a major conflict of interest: Cantor has paid Luntz’s firm thousands of dollars for consulting.
Frank Luntz is the CEO of the political consulting firm Luntz Global (Luntz sold his majority stake in the company in January, but continues to serve as an executive). According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, Luntz Global has received over $15,000 in consulting fees since 2012 from Cantor for Congress: On February 27, Cantor paid Luntz Global $2,353 for “seminar expenses”; on December 12, Cantor paid Luntz Global $5,000 for “speech consulting”; on April 9, 2012, Cantor paid Luntz Global $8,000 for “speech writing.”
CBS This Morning hosts Norah O’Donnell and Charlie Rose did not note the CBS News political analyst’s financial connections to Cantor. Luntz hailed Cantor as a hero to the country whose loss shatters the “cooperation” between House Republicans and the White House. From the June 11 edition of CBS’ CBS This Morning:
LUNTZ: Well you had Eric Cantor, who had a very good relationship with Joe Biden. Had open lines of communication. I think for the GOP it’s going to be very dangerous now for a Republican to talk to Democrats, as it was Democrats to talk to Republicans a few years ago. That this a blow for conversation. This is a blow for some sort of cooperation and I think it’s bad for the country, not just bad for the Republicans.
LUNTZ: I think this is such a great loss not just for Virginia, but for the country. Eric Cantor had the ability to negotiate. Eric Cantor had the ability to sit toe to toe and make concessions and make agreements. And maybe that hurt him in the primary, but that’s exactly what we need in Washington, and now we’re losing him.
After Rose noted Cantor “was a pipeline to Wall Street too in raising money,” Luntz replied, “He was also a pipeline to Americans who just wanted people to get things done. And we’ve lost that leadership in Washington.”
In his book Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper reported that Luntz orchestrated a 2009 meeting where prominent Republicans, including Eric Cantor, formulated a plan to win back Congress and the White House. He wrote: “Luntz had organized the dinner — telling the invitees, ‘You’ll have nothing to do that night, and right now we don’t matter anyway, so let’s all be irrelevant together.’ He had selected these men because they were among the Republican Party’s most energetic thinkers — and because they all got along with Luntz, who could be difficult.”
CBS News has repeatedly had disclosure problems with Luntz, who was hired by the network in 2012. When it first began hosting him, CBS couldn’t decide whether Luntz was an active Republican or a “former Republican” pollster and strategist (he’s active). Luntz also appeared on CBS during the 2012 campaign to discuss Republican vice presidential candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan without disclosing Luntz Global received money from Ryan’s congressional campaign.
Luntz’s lack of disclosure may violate CBS Corporation’s standards of conduct. The CBS Corporation Business Conduct Statement on conflicts of interest informs CBS employees, “including those employed on a temporary, freelance, intern, or per diem basis,” that “in all cases” they “must disclose all potential conflicts of interest” to CBS.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss to his tea party challenger on Tuesday will create the biggest disruption for GOP lawmakers since the departure of Tom DeLay eight years ago, and throws open the question of who will be the next speaker after John Boehner leaves.
It’s unclear how long Boehner plans to stay on, or whether Cantor’s defeat will alter the Ohio Republican’s thinking on his own future. There has been speculation for months that Boehner could step down after Election Day, or before the end of the next Congress, with Cantor in place as his certain successor.
Now, with Cantor’s shocking defeat, the GOP succession question for the “after Boehner” period is wide open, and Republicans will spend at least the next five months jockeying for a newly open spot at the leadership table.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, the current No. 3 in the House, is all but certain to run for the majority leader post, GOP sources said. McCarthy’s office declined to comment on Cantor’s loss or McCarthy’s plans.
But the California Republican likely will be challenged by a member of the conservative wing of the House GOP Conference, potentially including Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio or Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.
And a full-scale war will break out for majority whip, with Scalise, McMorris Rodgers and Reps. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) all possibilities for that post.
Roskam had already started unofficially running for whip, if the job came open. A GOP aide said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) decided to officially seek the whip job after receiving a number of calls Tuesday night from conservatives in the party urging him to run after Cantor lost.
GOP Rep. Paul Ryan is next in line for the Ways and Means Committee gavel and has said he wasn’t running for leadership, a stance he may now have to rethink.
Other leadership hopefuls could also emerge, especially among freshmen or sophomore members, although some of the most visible members those classes are running for Senate, leaving Congress or have other roles at this time. This group includes Reps. Jim Lankford (R-Okla.), who is running for Senate; Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), another Senate hopeful; Tim Griffin (R-Ark.); and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who is chairing the Benghazi select committee.
Yet Cantor’s pending disappearance from the top Republican ranks, coupled with questions over Boehner’s future, mean this leadership scramble could decide who runs the GOP Conference for the next decade, similar to how the Boehner-Roy Blunt battle to replace Tom DeLay played out in 2006.
Boehner, of course, won that fight and eventually became speaker when Republicans took back the House in 2010. For those Republicans eyeing leadership runs, the lessons from that fight could tempt them to go for the brass ring now, or risk losing out to a more ambitious rival and facing long-term fallout.
“You’ve seen the shadow campaigns … that get talked about all the time but then [members] deny it,” said a former Republican leadership staffer. “Tomorrow, you’re going to start hearing that people are seriously considering a run. It will be blown up. By the end of the week, we’re going to see who is interested and who is not.”
“This flushes out the Hensarlings and the Jordans. If they say they are not interested, then they are not interested and the conference has to move on. It’s important to make sure the conference has time to move on and vet a leader,” the former staffer added.
Republicans were stunned by Cantor’s defeat, as was all of Capitol Hill. Cantor had spent part of the day in House leadership meetings and on the floor dealing with a 2015 spending bill, and his staff and allies expressed total confidence that he would win. Cantor’s office had already released a memo outlining the June voting schedule, and his aides were trying to assemble an even longer-range floor schedule.
“Eric Cantor and I have been through a lot together. He’s a good friend and a great leader, and someone I’ve come to rely upon on a daily basis as we make the tough choices that come with governing,” Boehner said in a statement late Tuesday night. “My thoughts are with him and Diana and their kids tonight.”
McMorris Rodgers also praised Cantor, saying it was an “honor” to work with him.
“I’ve known Eric since I first came to Congress, and he’s been a great friend and colleague. It is a true honor serving with him — as a leader for both the people of Virginia and America. My thoughts are with Eric, Diana, and their family,” she said.
When the news broke on Tuesday evening, House members were still in the Capitol for a series of evening votes. The results began trickling in showing Cantor losing, which led to the unthinkable question, “What if Cantor loses?
Cantor’s loss could also dramatically alter the Republican legislative agenda for the next five months. Cantor had been scrambling to craft GOP health care bill to replace Obamacare — trying to piece together plans from wide corners of the party that could win support from a majority of Republicans. GOP leadership aides were tentatively planning for a series of health care related votes following the July 4th recess.
If a number of Republican Study Committee members hop into the race, it could raise the prominence of their health care alternative. Scalise launched a push just last month to pressure Cantor to schedule a vote on that bill.
Immigration reform will be another victim of the loss. Cantor was a moderate supporter of Republican plans to overhaul the current system — a point Brat used against him in the race. With such a high-profile sacrifice, it’s likely that even moderate Republicans will back away from reform or risk being labeled amnesty backers.
Dark Horse candidates that I’d also wager: Tim Huelskamp, Marsha Blackburn, Todd Rokita, and/or Jim Bridenstine could be considered for leadership roles.
h/t: Lauren French and John Bresnahan at Politico
RARE POLITICAL SURPRISE: "No sitting majority leader has lost a primary since the position was invented in 1899."
For the first time in history, the House majority leader has lost in a primary. Nobody saw it coming.
No one thought Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, could actually lose. His primary challenge in his suburban Richmond district, from a local economics professor named David Brat, was thought to be nominal. No sitting majority leader has lost a primary since the position was invented in 1899. Cantor, though unloved by many in his party and in Congress, was seen as the speaker-in-waiting whenever John Boehner decided, or was forced, to hang it up.
But all those assumptions went out the window Tuesday night, when Cantor shockingly lost—and by a wide margin. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.
In retrospect, there were signs Cantor felt endangered. As the Washington Postreported, in a dispatch that seemed far-fetched at the time but now appears prescient, Cantor was booed at a local Republican gathering last month, and his handpicked candidate for district GOP chair was defeated. His campaign aired TV ads and sent mailers crediting him for blocking immigration reform—signs he had begun to sense a threat. Meanwhile, Brat, a Tea Party activist, was championed by national conservatives like Ann Coulter and Mark Levin. (According to Virginia’s “sore-loser” law, Cantor can’t run against Brat as an independent in the general election, though he might be allowed to mount a write-in bid.)
One immigration-reform-supporting conservative operative emailed me mournfully: “I can’t vote for Democrats because I am pro-life, but my party seems beyond repair.”
Cantor’s loss will prompt the reexamination of some other pieces of conventional wisdom: One, that the Tea Party is dead—clearly, at least in one restive precinct, anti-Washington anger is alive and well. And two, that supporting immigration reform doesn’t necessarily hurt Republicans in primaries—Cantor’s supposed support for “amnesty” was Brat’s chief line of attack. Supporters of immigration reform now fear that Republican members of Congress, leery of touching the issue before, now will never be persuaded that it is not politically toxic. As one immigration-reform-supporting conservative operative emailed me mournfully: “I can’t vote for Democrats because I am pro-life, but my party seems beyond repair.”
In truth, it’s not quite so simple. The Tea Party has come up short in most of the big races where it played this year, and other, unapologetic Republican supporters of immigration reform, like North Carolina Representative Renee Ellmers and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have held on in the face of primary challenges. Cantor may have suffered more for his role as part of the unpopular House leadership than for any particular issue. After Republicans took the House in 2010, Cantor positioned himself as conservatives’ voice in leadership, a role in which he was blamed for scuttling the 2011 debt-limit deal that led to the nation’s credit being downgraded. But he had since patched things up with Boehner, a turnaround that led many House Republicans in both camps—the hard right and the establishment—to be unsure they could trust him. Cantor was ambitious, perpetually billed as a “rising star” despite his seven terms in Congress, but his ideas, like his “Making Life Work” reform agenda, never seemed to gain traction within his party.
There are few real surprises in politics. Tuesday’s result in Richmond was a rare exception. The political world now must get to know an obscure Randolph-Macon professor named Dave Brat; his Democratic opponent, an even more obscure professor at the same college named Jack Trammell; and a new world order in the House of Representatives.