From the Wednesday Morning Jolt:
Mega-Earthquake: Eric Cantor Loses GOP Primary to Dave Brat
Kirsten Anderson: “For my non-political but still nerdy friends, the primary election in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District tonight is kind of like the ‘Red Wedding’ Game of Thrones episode for politics.”
This is why we hold elections. Sometimes, a broad bipartisan consensus emerges that represents the views of the business community, activists, lobbyists, the media . . . everybody except the folks who actually vote.
A significant portion of Republican voters loathe anything that smells like amnesty with the passion of a thousand blazing suns going supernova. Immigration reform is not going to get through the House before midterms — good news for GOP unity heading into November — and there will never be significant GOP support for any Obama-backed immigration reform bill.
The bad news is, Obama’s going to enact as much as he can, as close to a broad amnesty plan as possible, through executive orders.
Take a victory lap, Mickey Kaus, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham.
Lauren Luxenberg puts it in perspective: “Eric Cantor won his last GOP primary with 79 percent of the vote.”
Cantor and his allies can’t blame low turnout for this one. My old colleague Derek Willis noted that the 2012 primary turnout was surpassed with only 71 percent of the precincts reporting. “People who ran David Brat’s turnout operation are gonna be getting some phone calls, methinks.”
Dave Levinthal: “Eric Cantor raised $5.4 million this election cycle. Dave Brat just north of $200,000. Money usually matters. This isn’t one of those times.”
Brit Hume, speaking on Fox News last night:
This is bad news, long term for Republicans, because it is argued by some that immigration reform will never pass, because the Republicans feel chastened by the Cantor loss. Republicans will go into 2016 without having their names attached to immigration reform. I’m not sure I buy that, but that is what you’ll be hearing in this town. Conventional wisdom forms quickly.
For what it is worth, some locals strongly disagree with that interpretation; A Morning Jolt reader in Cantor’s district writes in:
I think everyone on FOX and the other channels who are seeing something bigger than local politics here are missing the boat entirely. Brat ran a very Obama-like campaign, using the local Tea Party to get out the vote among low information voters (“Cantor agrees with Obama on amnesty” was Brat’s message). I don’t think there is any “big” message tonight, other than all politics is local.
But make no mistake, this is a terrible night for VA-7 — we just voted out a man with a 95 percent ACU lifetime rating, and replaced him with a man I am pretty sure is not a “life-long conservative” and soon probably we will see someone more liberal than Eric replace him as Republican leader.
On one of my mailing lists, somebody quipped, “Every single Cantor operative on that race should consider selling popsicles and burgers — incredible act of not knowing the district.”
But as another campaign veteran pointed out, Cantor’s pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, ought to be cut a smidgen of slack for degree of difficulty: Polling House districts is hard, polling House district primaries is even harder, and polling a U.S. House district primary without a baseline for turnout in a competitive primary in recent cycles is particularly difficult.
Phil Klein: “ ‘Tea Party is dead’ narrative now as dead as immigration reform.”
James Pethokoukis: “Losing Eric Cantor means GOP loses someone with a deep and thoughtful understanding of the economic challenges facing modern USA.”
Kevin Madden: “Every election is a job interview for candidates. Never show up late to a job interview.”
Democrats will get excited about knocking off Brat in the general election race, but note this is an R+10 district.