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 Politics Archive 2014

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is stepping
down from his leadership position
by Nathan'ette Burdine: June 15, 2014

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that he will be stepping down from his leadership position on July 31, 2014.

Cantor’s announcement comes after he lost on Tuesday in the GOP Congressional primary, in Virginia’s 7th district, to the Tea Party Candidate Dave Brat.

Brat won the GOP Congressional primary with 55.55% of the vote to Cantor’s 44.45% of the vote.

The lost came as a surprise to many within Washington D.C. political circles. It appeared as if Cantor, who had name recognition and money, would easily defeat Brat, who was not well known.

Cantor has held his congressional seat since 2000. And according to CNN, Cantor had over $5,000,000 in campaign funds compared to Brat who had over $200,000 in campaign funds. Also, the Washington Post reported that Cantor’s internal polls had him defeating Brat by 60 percentage points.

During a Tuesday night appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told Cooper that Cantor’s loss was a result of him not campaigning.

Gingrich pointed out that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won their primaries against Tea Party challengers because they went back home and campaigned.

Pat Mullins, who is the chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party, echoed Gingrich’s comments. Mullins told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Cantor didn’t campaign in the district like he did two years ago.

Cantor’s lack of campaigning allowed Brat to paint an unfavorable image of him. Cantor, who along with former Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan, is known as a “Young Gun” in Washington D.C.

However, Cantor’s image as a typical D.C. politician did not sit too well with voters in Virginia’s 7th district. Brat used immigration as a way to cast Cantor as a stereotypical D.C. politician who said one thing but did another.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Brat told voters that Cantor was in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Cantor denied Brat’s claims and tried to paint the economics professor as a liberal masquerading as a Tea Partier.

Cantor ran campaign ads highlighting Brat’s membership on an economic advisory board, which reported to former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Kaine is a Democrat, who according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, failed in his attempt to raise the state’s taxes.

Cantor’s attempts at casting Brat in an unfavorable light did little to sway the voters. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, voters became frustrated with Cantor not engaging them.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a Brat supporter, Liz Warren, described Cantor’s voter reach out as “lackadaisical” and said that Cantor had “lost his way.”

Dave Brat will face the Democratic Nominee, John “Jack” Trammell, during the November 2014 election. Trammell is Brat’s colleague at Randolph-Macon College.

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