Israel was among those stunned by the Cantor loss. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
“I’m giving a speech. I have no time for jokes,” Steve Israel told Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward when she emailed to say there were signs something was happening in Virginia’s 7th District.
It was 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and Israel had just left an event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He passed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. as she arrived.
The New York Democrat was on his way to address the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, and Ward flagged that with 30 percent of the primary vote in, it seemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., might be in peril. He wasn’t interested. Polls, after all, had just closed.
Israel called Pelosi just in case: “I left a message, which was, ‘You know I’m skeptical, but I just want to flag for you that there are indications Cantor may be in trouble, but I don’t think we should do anything until we establish whether this is a false alarm.’ That’s what I said, ‘false alarm.'”