Virginia polls closed at 7PM tonight and the Associated Press has officially called the 7th House district race in the Richmond area, for tea party-backed candidate Dave Brat. This was a completely unexpected victory for Brat who was challenging the current House Majority leader Eric Cantor.
Brat won 55% of the vote while Cantor won just 44%.
Cantor is the second most powerful member of the House so the fact that he lost, not only to a political newbie, but to a tea party favorite is sure to send a shock up the spines of the Washington D.C. establishment Republicans. In a game where having the most money typically tips the scale in a candidates direction, Brat defied the norm. According to OpenSecrets.org, Eric Cantor raised a whopping $5.5M and spent $5M whereas Dave Brat raised a mere $206K and spent $122K.
This outcome is also interesting because not only was he significantly outspent by Cantor, Brat clearly didn’t have the political connections or backing that would typically result in win for a sitting congressman.
While the odds were arguably in Cantor’s favor, Brat defied them, I believe, partly because he ran an effective campaign where he was able to paint a picture of Cantor’s record and intentions as being out of touch with the people in his district. Brat painted that picture early in the race and continued to hammer the issues, focusing a lot on Cantor’s unpopular stance on immigration.
Congratulations to Dave Brat! I hope this is the first of many races that result in the purge ineffective, out of touch Republican representation.
What do you think about Eric Cantor losing his seat to a tea party challenger? We say BYE BYE, Eric Cantor!