In the most stunning upset since Republicans took over the House of Representatives four years ago, Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his GOP primary Tuesday to a poorly funded and disorganized Tea Party activist. David Brat, an economics professor, beat Cantor by 12 points when the Associated Press called the race shortly after 8 p.m. Cantor served as the congressman from Virginia’s 7th District since 2001 and as the leader of House Republicans since 2011.
“I know there’s a lot of long faces here tonight, and it’s disappointing, sure, but I believe in this country, I believe there’s an opportunity around the next corner for all of us,” Cantor told supporters after his defeat.
Cantor was the chief opponent of President Obama in the House, organizing unanimious opposition to the stimulus act in 2009 and opposing a deal led by House Speaker John Boehner to avoid a government shutdown in 2011 in part by raising revenue. Cantor felt the heat from Brat over immigration, airing ads in the closing days saying he opposed “amnesty.” Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell in the general election.