Reading tea leaves of the Tea Party after stunning election defeat of Eric Cantor

Jun 11, 2014


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R), R-Ohio, speaks during the House Republican Leadership press conference at the House Republican Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland, Jan. 30, 2014, with Majority Leader US Congressman Eric Cantor (C), R-Virginia, and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington.; Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was trounced in a primary election last night, losing to a little known candidate, Dave Brat. The blame and praise being shelled out today focuses plenty on the Tea Party, but Brat does not identify as a Tea Party candidate, nor did that ilk back him with money or campaigning.

Adding insult to injury, Rep. Cantor spent millions of dollars on the race, yet lost nonetheless. As The New York Times reports, “Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Cantor’s campaign had spent about $168,637 at steakhouses compared with the $200,000 his challenger, David Brat, had spent on his entire campaign.”

Cantor was seen as an heir apparent to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Does this create an opening for California Congressman and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to vault in as a replacement for Boehner? Who is Brat and why did Virginia voters throw support his way? What lost the election for Cantor, and what does it portend for the GOP’s strategies?


Ken Rudin, Host of Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie podcast; you can find his weekly podcast at – that’s all one word

Sal Russo, Co-founder & Chief Strategist of @TeaPartyExpress. President of the political consulting firm Russo Marsh + Associates, Inc.

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