Congressman Eric Cantor, Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, has been knocked off his perch and out of his seat in a surprise primary result borne by a virtually unknown challenger, and economics professor, Dave Brat.
Cantor, the heir-apparent to become the next House Speaker, never saw it coming, especially after 7 successful elections.
Professor Brat beat the incumbent handily, by over 10 points, and only spent some $300,000 to Cantor’s millions.
Such a stunning political development comes, in part, due to Cantor’s inattention to his home district, seemingly relying on TV ads to sell his campaign.
But it’s also true that years of gerrymandering have resulted in increasingly politically consolidated districts. This consolidation may’ve resulted in a district more conservative than their incumbent -Eric Cantor.
The total vote count was under 100,000 for both candidates.
In 2010, Cantor won over 138,000 votes. But that was the general election. This was the primary, which usually attracts the most fervent of all voters.
Cantor, it seems, forgot a lesson made famous by another House Speaker, Thomas “Tip” O’Neill of Boston: “All politics are local.”