B-b-but I thought the Tea Party was dead. I guess not:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been defeated by a tea party-backed challenger in the Republican primary.
Economics professor Dave Brat won a stunning upset victory against Cantor on Tuesday in the 7th District Republican primary contest, which is in the Richmond area.
Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was seen by some as a possible successor to the House speaker.
His loss to a political novice with little money marks a huge victory for the tea party movement, which supported Cantor just a few years ago.
Brat had been a thorn in Cantor’s side on the campaign, casting the congressman as a Washington insider who isn’t conservative enough. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.
With 90% of the precincts reporting, Brat has beaten the soon to be ex-Majority Leader by 11 points. In hindsight, maybe Cantor’s penchant for repeatedly reviving amnesty wasn’t the best strategy, despite what his DC handlers assured him. Seriously, this is a great victory by the grassroots over the establishment, especially given how unlikely it appeared a few short hours ago. I’ll close on a note of caution, however: Now that Cantor’s a lame duck, will he feel free to come out of the shadows, so to speak, and go all out to cut an amnesty deal with Obama? It’s not unrealistic to envision a scenario in which Cantor is offered a plum job on K Street in return for using his final days in the House to pursue that end.
Ok, enough negativity … time to enjoy an adult beverage and a fine cigar.
Update: With 99% reporting, Brat is maintaining his lead and is up 55.6 to 44.4. Also, via Erick Erickson (h/t Hot Air), Virginia law bars Cantor from pulling a Lisa Murkowski in the general:
Update: As I savor Cantor’s concession speech, I’m amazed that he just thanked his political team for their "great work". This is the same team whose internal polling showed Cantor with a 34-point lead over Brat just 4 days ago! What, precisely, is he thanking his team for?