In a stunning upset propelled by tea party activists, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was defeated in Tuesday’s congressional primary, with insurgent David Brat delivering an unpredicted and devastating loss to the second most powerful Republican in the House who has widely been touted as a future speaker.
The race called shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern by the Associated Press.
Brat’s victory gives the GOP a volatile outlook for the rest of the campaign season, with the party establishment struggling late Tuesday to grapple with the news and tea party conservatives relishing a surprising win.
“This is an earthquake,” said former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, a friend of Cantor’s. “No one thought he’d lose.” But Brat, tapping into conservative anger over Cantor’s role in supporting efforts to reform federal immigration laws, found a way to combat Cantor’s significant financial edge.
Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.
Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district,Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite.
A similar revolt in the state Republican committee last year determined that the party would hold a two-day convention rather than an open primary to elect candidates in 2013. That decision helped gubernatorial contender Ken Cuccinelli II, a conservative hero who lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Many establishment Republicans in the state believe Cuccinelli’s nomination cost them the governorship. The 7th District fight is a sign that the factions in the party have yet to unite.
Since his days in the Virginia legislature, Cantor has been on the side of the pro-business, establishment. But he began to forge ties with the tea party in 2010, positioning himself as a conservative counterweight to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) after the movement helped sweep Republicans into power. Yet tea party activists in his own district have never embraced him.
Cantor was on Fox News Sunday and was asked why Congress wouldn’t pass necessary appropriations to stop the government from running out of money. Instead, Congress has been
wasting time holding its 40 Obamacare repeal vote and pursuing other highly partisan partisan measures.
“Rightly or wrongly, none of the bills you passed is going to become law,” Wallace told Cantor on Fox News Sunday. “You have only passed four of 12 appropriations bills you are supposed to pass. We face a government shut down in the fall. Is this the best time to spend your time, passing bills that won’t become law?”
Cantor responded by accusing President Obama of delivering campaign speeches and failing to consider measures the House has already voted on. But Wallace wouldn’t hear it, reminding Cantor that the GOP couldn’t advance a comprehensive Farm Bill and had to pull a transportation funding measure after moderate House Republicans balked at its deep cuts. “Why not do what the House is supposed to do?”
It boggles the mind to know that some members of Congress (like Cantor) make close to $250k annually and sometimes more, depending on the length of service. What could Cantor, et al possibly know about the needs of an hourly wage worker?
We could save money an easier way: End some of Congress’ vacation time and extend their work week to 4.5 days (with a half-day on Friday to get back to their home states.) That way, the taxpayers of the United States will finally get their money’s worth.
In Eric Cantor’s February 2013 speech, he said he wanted to propose Federal Law that would end overtime pay for hourly workers. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, mandates that certain workers get paid “time + 1/2” for overtime work. Eric Cantor wants to eliminate that law. Because — ya know — workers not getting paid for overtime hours worked out so good for workers before FDR enacted that Law.
Eric Cantor’s “end of overtime pay for workers” that he talked about in his February speech was overshadowed, in part, by the public whining Cantor did bitching that ‘Obama gave his speech at the same time as me … wah, wah, wah.‘
In this month’s New Yorker Magazine, Ryan Lizza wrote an excellent article titled: “Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself?” in which Lizza reminded readers that Eric Cantor wants to end the Federal law that mandates certain workers get paid overtime for the extra hours they labor.
Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself? (page 13)Cantor spoke about school choice, tax reform, expanding visas. After the speech, he rode back to the Capitol and met privately with House Republicans to discuss one of the policies he had emphasized: a policy that would allow workers to convert overtime compensation into time off. “I gave a talk today about helping people and about finally focussing on legislation that has understandable benefits right away,” Cantor said. He explained that it would help parents who wanted to go on a field trip or attend a teacher conference. “What I want to see is how we can communicate this, communicate the benefit. How are we going to build a coalition and get it done?”
First, the Republicans tried to do this very same thing in 2003 in a House Bill: HR 1119 “Family Time Flexibility Act” (isn’t that a cute title for a bill that will end overtime pay for hourly working moms and dads.)
The Virginia lawmaker and House GOP number 2 said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that he’d “not seen the ad,” which has been running in Ohio and which drew a sharp rebuke from the CEO of Chrysler for its false suggestion that the company is shipping American jobs to China.
“I think the point of that ad is that we need a president who is actually going to focus on increasing the competitiveness of America,” Cantor said.
But asked directly by host David Gregory whether he thought the ad was “deceptive,” Cantor was evasive. “I’ve not seen the ad, I’ve just heard it now,” he said. “Apparently they’re not running it in Virginia.”
Cantor’s comments were quickly tweeted out by Obama campaign press secretary Lis Smith, who noted:
Even @EricCantor passes on defending @MittRomney’s deceptive auto ads.
In one version of the ad, an announcer declares:
Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio or China? There now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making Jeeps in – you guessed it – China. Mitt Romney. He’ll stand up for the auto industry. In Ohio, not China.
The Obama campaign has hit also hit back hard, releasing its own ad calling the Romney charge “dishonest.” And even Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday called the ad “misleading.”
Still, another Romney surrogate took a different approach from Cantor. Asked Sunday by Candy Crowley of CNN why the Romney campaign had not taken the ad down, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio declared: ”the ad is accurate.”
Progressive groups organizing a rally at the same Richmond-area hotel where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was holding an event Wednesday were abruptly kicked out of the hotel and told by hotel management to remain off of its property during Cantor’s event.
Cantor held an Advisory Council gathering, closed to the media but open to constituents who registered ahead of time, at the Holiday Inn Koger Center in Richmond. A coalition of progressive Virginia organizing groups — Progress Virginia, OurDC, and Virginia Organizing — had booked rooms and a separate ballroom in the hotel to hold a “jobs rally” countering Cantor’s event. According to organizers, the groups planned to invite Cantor to attend their rally after his own event, in the hope that he would listen to their concerns regarding job creation and unemployment.
But just hours before the events were set to begin, the Holiday Inn canceled the groups’ ballroom and room reservations and ordered the groups to remain off of hotel property during Cantor’s meeting. According to organizers, hotel management falsely accused them of smoking in their rooms and used that as justification to cancel their reservations. A representative of Holiday Inn who only agreed speak on the condition of anonymity, however, said the hotel was seeking to avoid confrontation between the progressive groups and those attending the Cantor event. He would not comment on whether the hotel had any communications with Cantor or his staff regarding the progressive groups.
Attempts to reach both Cantor’s office and Holiday Inn’s corporate offices for comment prior to publication were unsuccessful. In an interview with a local news station, Cantor acknowledged that he saw the protesters but said, “I don’t see how that’s productive. … (It was) a very productive event. I’m not quite so sure how that was productive outside.”
After their reservations were canceled, the progressive groups assembled across the street and began marching to the hotel, where they were met by Virginia state police officers and hotel management demanding that they remain off Holiday Inn property. The protesters remained assembled between the Holiday Inn and the street, where they held signs protesting Cantor’s record on job creation and his legislative priorities and chanted that they wanted Cantor to focus on jobs. Multiple protesters told stories of their unemployment over a megaphone as police and hotel management looked on.
The protesters then marched back across the street, out of sight from the hotel, and held a rally similar to the one they had planned inside the hotel, with more stories of unemployment and hardship brought on by the economic recession.
Caveat: Turn down your speakers before watching the following video…
Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene this weekend, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today stood by his call that no more money be allocated for disaster relief unless it is offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The Washington Post reported this morning that FEMA will need more money than it currently has to deal with the storm’s aftermath and is already diverting funds from other recent disasters to deal with the hurricane, but Cantor’s comments suggest Republicans won’t authorize more funds without a fight.
Cantor took the position following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the spring and summer, and after last week’s earthquake, the epicenter for which was in his district, but the hurricane’s level of destruction is far beyond that of those disasters. Still, Cantor told Fox News that while “we’re going to find the money,” “we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to do so.”
Cantor referred a bill the Republican-controlled House passed that approves $1 billion in disaster relief, which was financed by a $1.5 billion cut from loan program to encourage the production of fuel-efficient vehicles. But the need in the wake of the hurricane will likelygreatly surpass $1 billion, and that spending package was supposed to be used for tornado recovery efforts, for which several hundred million dollars has already been outlayed.
Mineral, Virginia, where yesterday’s earthquake originated, just so happens to be in Eric Cantor’s district. Eric Cantor just so happens to get gotcha’d every time a disaster happens and the media starts looking for budget cuts that look short-sighted from the view inside the rubble. He’s figured out how to handle this:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor assured his constituents on Wednesday that Congress “will find the monies” to assist earthquake victims in Mineral, Virginia – but the Republican lawmaker noted that “those monies will be offset with appropriate savings or cost-cutting elsewhere.”
One factor that’s been misunderstood in today’s weird Krugman discussion is whether or not Keynesians think natural disaster = growth. Not necessarily — they tee up the conditions under which government and industry will spend new money. They may even create an environment for temporarily deregulation. You want as much relief as possible, followed by as much commerce as possible.
Cantor’s promising… well, for now, disaster relief that will be funded by cuts somewhere else. This is exactly what Faux Krugman was afraid of.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Seismologists said today that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia did less damage to Washington, D.C. than House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, also centered in Virginia.
“The earthquake and Eric Cantor originate from almost the identical point,” said Dr. Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota’s Seismology Institute. “But while the earthquake caused some minor shaking, there’s only one word for Eric Cantor’s impact: devastation.”
As residents of Washington picked through the rubble left behind by Rep. Cantor, some questioned whether it made sense to rebuild.
“What’s the point? Congress will be back from recess in a few days and then he’ll just knock everything down again,” one resident said.
While rumbling from the quake extended to states as far-flung as New York and Ohio, Rep. Cantor’s path of destruction has wreaked damage on almost every state in the country, Dr. Logsdon said.
“The only state he hasn’t destroyed is Wisconsin,” he said. “That’s because there was nothing left of it after it was hit by Scott Walker.”