In a stunning upset, GW alumnus and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by a tea party challenger in his district’s Republican primary Tuesday.
Cantor was brought down by what many considered a long-shot challenger, Dave Brat, in the Richmond, Va.-area race, the Associated Pressreported.
Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the House of Representatives and was billed by many as the next speaker. He boasted about $2 million in his coffers by the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Brat, an economics professor, had brought in just $40,000.
The tea party challenger’s victory upset most pundits’ predictions. As late as Tuesday morning, the Washington Post predicted Cantor would win the race because of Brat’s small fundraising totals and poorly managed campaign.
But Brat was able to play up conservative dissatisfaction with Cantor, likening the majority leader’s position on immigration reform to amnesty. Though Cantor has voted to heighten border security and opposed reform measures like the DREAM Act, he has supported citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the military.
That resentment surfaced at the voting booth. With 98 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Brat led Cantor by a nearly 11-point margin, the AP reported.