Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Eric Cantor Loses Primary in Massive Upset (Video)

Eric Cantor is a Republican from Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became the first person in American history to lose his primary while holding that position. He lost Tuesday night to a poorly-funded GOP opponent in the biggest electoral stunner in several cycles.

College professor David Brat defeated Cantor, 56 percent to 44 percent, with 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

“I know there’s a lot of long faces here tonight,” Cantor told assembled supporters Tuesday night, with his wife standing by his side. “It’s disappointing sure, but I believe in this country, I believe there’s opportunity around the next corner for all of us.

“So, I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause, because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that so many people are facing today.”

It is extremely rare for a member of House leadership to lose — especially in a primary. The most recent majority leader or speaker to lose re-election was the late Democratic Speaker Tom Foley of Washington. But he lost in a general election in the 1994 Republican wave.

Cantor’s defeat will likely send shockwaves through Capitol Hill. He was widely viewed as a potential successor to Speaker John A. Boehner for the top leadership spot in the House.

“I’m shocked. I’m just shocked,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., on Tuesday evening. “Obviously, it throws leadership into turmoil, it obviously shakes up the party in Virginia.”

Cantor raised $5.44 million, while Brat raised $207,000, a huge disparity. Cantor could, in theory, run as a write-in candidate, according to Virginia election law. Back in 2010, when Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost her primary bid, she ran successfully as a write-in candidate, albeit without the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Jeff Ryer, the communications director for the Senate GOP caucus in Virginia, chalked up Cantor’s loss to his backing of an immigration overhaul. Ryer added that the Republican Party in the state will now work to ensure that the GOP holds onto the seat in November.

“The party will do everything it can to hold onto the seat,” Ryer added. “Eric is the state’s highest ranking Republican because he’s the House Majority Leader. It’s a blow.”

Brat is clear favorite to win in this district in November. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a 15-point margin in 2012.

Virginia’s 7th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Jay Hunter and Abby Livingston contributed to this report. 

Related Links:

Eric Cantor’s Defeat Was in the Immigration Tea Leaves

Eric Cantor: A Brief Biography

10 Republicans Who Could Be Speaker

  • hep pep

    Cantor support for amnesty plus a strong tea party challenger = bye bye Cantor!

  • Bioethike

    Bwahahahaha! See ya’!

  • mlhouse

    What works in a district without a Democratic contender does not a national policy make.

  • Tom Slater

    Good riddance to bad rubbish who got too big for his britches. Cantor liked money more than principles and the welfare of the country.

  • John Smith

    Bye bye Eric, ya fargin yerk.

  • teapartydoc

    Are you listening, Republican Establishment?

  • A Smith

    But… but… CNN and MSNBC and CBS told me that the Tea Party was dead.

  • superduckz


  • Jack Everett

    Who says the media never prints good news lol. Republicans will not even have to buy this election without a democrat running against him. Keep listening to fox and Rove fools your loses are mounting up fast.

  • gearbox123

    The science is settled!

  • gearbox123

    “Can you hear us NOW?”

  • gearbox123

    So, what does that say about Democrat Charlie “I see dead voters” Rangel? When was the last time he had a serious challenger? 1962?

  • Brett_Bellmore

    But they probably will have a Democrat running against them this fall: Cantor.

  • jenny2

    Finally some good news! Cantor be gone.

  • nadadhimmi

    Yeah, so it never happened huh! National policy is to cater to illegal aliens over the vast majority of Americans. In State tuition, ability to break Federal, State and Local Laws with complete, race based immunity. Is that the national policy of which you speak?

  • Willys

    Got this from HotAir…

    Update: I know you’re wondering, but rest easy. Virginia does have a “sore loser” law.

    Virginia Code 24.2-520 : A candidate who loses a primary shall be prohibited from having his name on a general election ballot.

  • Shootist

    There is justice.

    Just say NO to RINOs.

  • Willys

    Damned TEA Party’ers… just like Democrats, voting after death


  • Constitution101

    “Eric Cantor got TP’D!” LOL

  • pmorton

    Cooter’s revenge. I guess he did get the Democrats to vote for the tea party guy. Nice going Ben Jones.

  • mlhouse

    That only in such an extreme liberal district could Charlie Rangel stay in office.

  • mlhouse

    It is pretty obvious were the political tea leaves lie. Why else would the national GOP leadership support limited amnesty?

  • George Gamble

    Wait, I thought the media was loudly proclaiming the tea party was dead? Maybe the rest of the GOP will realize they are elected by their constituents back home and not the muppet show in washington.

  • Dantes

    Well, Eric, the problem is, you aren’t a conservative and don’t believe in conservative causes. Still lyin…

  • George Gamble

    Because they are ensnared by the same Washington bubble that all politicians succumb to over time. The fact is the muppet show in DC does not play so well back home.

  • henry

    Cantor will still endorse the Democrat.

  • Mr Monte 024

    Better face it boys! Eric Cantor lost because the voters are finally become tired of the usual lies and “politics as usual” type leadership in Washington DC and elsewhere. The Independents came out today in Virginia an voted for Brat. Get used to it. It’s a trend you will see repeated. The days of ‘Joe Six-Pack’ either staying home or pulling the lever for the Incumbent are now officially at an end.

  • cordycord


  • mikeconstitution

    Using the “teabagger” pejorative shows you to be an intolerant, ignorant, bigot; a typical leftist projecting his hatred onto his betters.

    The list you posted should be read as:

    Stood up to Obama who threw a fit and shut down the government.
    Stood up to Obama to stop the destruction of the greatest healthcare system in the world.
    Stood up to Obama to defend small businesses and working people from more job killing nonsense.
    Stood up to Obama to defend the Constitution.
    Stood up to Obama to defend the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; especially the most helpless among us.

    Cantor lost because he forgot which side he is supposed to be on and did not defend his constituents from the historically destructive Obama administration.

  • DirtyDave

    An effort is now underway, I bet, to do everything possible to defeat David Brat. Democrats and Republicans together. Too many Dave Brats and the establishment on both sides will loose control.

  • DirtyDave

    You are so correct.

  • seattlenerd

    If the GOP wants to lose its sixth popular vote out of the last seven for President, they should just keep on sipping that Tea Party koolaid.

    And it’s worth pointing out that the GOP lost the popular vote for both the Senate and the House in 2012. Kinda makes you wonder why there’s a GOP majority in the House, doesn’t it.

  • seattlenerd

    Would that be the “Read My Lips: No New Taxes” Reagan”? or the “Iran-Contra” Reagan? or the “blew up the deficit spectacularly” Reagan? or the “couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge the existence of AIDS” Reagan? or … the “all the insiders knew that he was afflicted by Alzheimers in his 2nd term” Reagan?

    After the devastation of Bush/Cheney, could our Nation withstand another Reagan? Probably; it’s a pretty strong Nation, but … why go there?

  • mikeconstitution

    Jack Everett, you Obama-voting, government dependence loving, liberty hating, crony capitalist defending, liberal democrat fascists are what brought us to this awful place; massive wealth destruction, massive unemployment, massive debt, group identity, class warfare, division, violence, et al. You own it all and it is all anti-American and anti-Constitution…you should be ashamed.

  • Tax_Man

    Why do Democrats consistently churn out moronically crude and juvenile infographics to rally their base? Oh, wait…just answered my own question.

  • Savy

    Congratulations Mr. Brat. One down, MANY more to go!

    But remember , Obama has already created a crisis on the border with the Illegal Immigrant Dump in our Country with the work of US Federal Government media campaigns in Central America for free food, free health, and free college.

    Obama also promised to move forward with his OWN illegal immigration reforms
    If the Congress (House Republicans ) did not give him “cover”.

    Get ready for another Obama 5 Episode as our “President” will move again to screw the Republic.

  • Sam I Am

    VS a democrat, the Tea Party is DEAD

  • Sam I Am

    The TEA-QAIDA Party is dead… Tea-Party vs any progressive liberal candidate will expose the hypocracy of the tea loonies.

  • Jeremy Gilchrist

    The question is can the Tea Party shed their racist elements and domestic terrorists like Jared Miller in Vegas and the Bundy Ranch loons?

  • boballab

    Don’t have to wonder at all, unlike a liberals and you (oh wait I repeat myself), I can remember back further than 24 hrs. There was this little thing in 2010 called an election and the Tea Party swept the GOP into power. This scared the liberals in DC and they started an illegal campaign to suppress Tea Party groups, today known as the IRS Scandal, which successfully protected Obama and the Rino’s in 2012.

    Oh BTW your math sucks donkey balls since you know G. W. Bush won the popular vote in the 2004 election just 2 presidential cycles ago 50.73% to Kerry’s 48.26%.

    Also Mitt Romney was the choice of the establishment RINO’s not the Tea Party and how well did he do? Oh right he lost.

    So anyone that takes advice from a liar like you is either naive, stupid or a liberal…oops there I go agaim repeating myself.

  • boballab

    Another liberal idiot exposing his idiocy to the world. The only hypocrites are you liberals saying your for the little guy but then turn around and making deals with the fat cats on Wall Street.

  • gtwreck

    Try to get informed. It was George H. W. Bush who said “read my lips. No new taxes” and don’t confuse him with his son who was president before the present catastrophe. George H. W. Bush who followed Reagan in the presidency made the statement and got booted after one term because of that broken promise.

  • don76550

    Brat ran on supporting our gun rights. Cantor recently voted against your gun rights. That didn’t help him with the many gun owners in is district. The gun issue is a prime voting issue for me.

  • SpiderDan

    His math checks out to me. 2004 is the only Presidential election in the last 6 (92, 96, 00, 04, 08, 12) in which the GOP did not lose the popular vote. If they lose in 16, that would be 6 Presidential popular vote losses in 7 tries.

  • erick

    Cantor supported the interests of the wall street drug money launders over the economic interests of the nation.

  • Patti evans

    I can’t find a single video about the democratic candidate Brat will be facing.

  • Patti evans

    I can’t find a single video about the democratic candidate Brat will be facing.

  • Mr Monte 024

    Please go back to the Huffington Post and ‘peddle your papers’ over there. Thank you.

  • YANKEE57

    The Only Sad News is That a More Evil Jerk From The Far Right of The Twilight Zone Will Take His Place!

  • Name goes here

    ““The party will do everything it can to hold onto the seat,” Ryer added” I hope this then precludes a write-in strategy. Splitting the vote between Brat and Cantor will certainly allow the other party to win. Would Cantor risk this?

  • Keith Hagarman

    “Conservative Republican principles” are ENFORCING EXISTING LAW.

  • Rick Caird

    Yeah, too bad the TEA Party is dead. They could have made a difference….. Oh wait….

  • Keith Hagarman

    Americans are witnessing a tragedy on our southern border, one which pulls at the heartstrings of all who see the suffering Obama has wrought on those poor children. Good people across the spectrum see this and are appalled. Expect this to dampen further democrat turnout come November.

  • dw1206

    If the people in the Media would actually do some homework, they would realize that Cantor’s loss was not about the Tea Party. It was about people being sick and tired of Political Players who are more interested in the voices of their financial backers and Party ideologies than actually listening to all the people in their home districts. The People in the 7CD have spoken, yes. Money will not buy our Democracy!

  • Layla

    Keep it up, please. The more you do, the more the average American sickens of listening to you. You are the best “get out the vote” incentive for the GOP.

  • Layla

    If you want to win in 2016, you’re going to have to find a candidate younger than Hillary, one with a pulse who won’t stroke out.

  • Layla

    It had better be a wake up call to both sides. The following issues will be the cause: IRS, Obamacare, NSA, veterans and not enforcing our immigration laws, and last but certainly not least…..NO JOBS.

  • Layla

    That is true in many states.

  • Layla

    Keep it up, Jack, seriously please keep it up. Your comments are helping us to get out the vote. Your average non political American voter, the ones both sides have screwed, have had enough.

    So, please, keep it coming….

  • akrazyrunner

    Republicans beware, Roger Ailes is absolutely running your party now

  • Emmanuel Ezekiel

    The liberty school realizes that demands for “equality” are little more than slogans conjured up by those attempting to exploit emotions.

  • Forest Black

    Although finding the best way to apply our unique skills and abilities is a tough task in a free country, it is one inseparable from liberty.

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