A spokesman for President Obama rushed to assure House Republicans that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) didn’t actually lose because of his gestures toward Democrats on immigration reform.
“Cantor’s problem wasn’t his position on immigration reform, it was his lack of a position,” Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted, citing the primary triumph tonight by Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). “Graham wrote and passed a bill and is winning big.”
Cantor’s campaign sent out direct-mail pieces ahead of the election maintaining that he was “stopping the Obama-Reid plan to give illegal aliens amnesty,” but challenger Dave Brat accused him of supporting “amnesty” based on his support for legislation such as the KIDS Act, which would give citizenship to children brought to the country illegally.
“Where else would these kids go? Again, they’ve been brought here as a minor in many instances having no idea what was going on, knowing no other place than America as home,” Cantor said during a press conference last July.
RedState’s Erick Erickson came to a similar conclusion as Pfeiffer, but for different reasons. “Immigration was the surface reason that galvanized the opposition to Cantor, but the opposition could not have been galvanized with this issue had Cantor been a better congressman these past few years,” Erickson wrote. “Cantor’s constituent services moved more toward focusing on running the Republican House majority than his congressional district. K Street, the den of Washington lobbyists, became his chief constituency. In Virginia a couple of months ago, several residents of Cantor’s district groused that they were going to support Brat because they did not think Cantor was doing his job as a Virginia congressman. Others no longer trusted him.”