Even if Eric Cantor pulls out a win in today’s primary against economics professor Dave Brat, other GOP pols are already taking notice of his travails.
The House majority leader won his 2012 primary with 79 percent of the vote against a political novice with no money. The idea that a different political novice with no money should pose a serious threat this time around seems implausible. And yet there’s no chance Cantor will do as well in Tuesday’s vote as he did two years ago.
An internal poll conducted May 27–28 showed Cantor at just 62 percent. And yet the campaign was obviously pleased with such a weak showing, since they leaked it to the Washington Post.
Brat has clearly frightened Cantor. The campaign has used its 40:1 spending advantage to send out hilariously improbable material to voters claiming to be tough on illegal immigration and labeling lifelong conservative Republican Brat a “liberal college professor.” Even the MSM fact-checkers concluded that was false.
The tactics don’t appear to have worked. The only other poll done on the race, conducted just a week after the campaign’s internal poll and sponsored by the Daily Caller, showed Brat surging and Cantor dropping to just 52 percent.
And that was before Laura Ingraham headlined a rally for Dave Brat in Cantor’s own neighborhood.
Curiously, Cantor’s campaign hasn’t been doing anything to lower expectations. Campaign manager Ray Allen responded to the Daily Caller poll by boasting that “we’re going to win by a much stronger margin.” And Cantor himself doesn’t seem worried enough to actually change his views on amnesty: In response to a question about what to do to stop the surge of young illegal aliens in South Texas (caused in part by Cantor’s own advocacy for the DREAM Act amnesty), Cantor suggested amnesty for young illegal aliens!
Maybe Cantor’s campaign is right to be complacent. But it doesn’t look that way. And if Dave Brat even approaches 40 percent in tomorrow’s vote, that should be a strong signal that for Republican voters, even in a relatively upscale district like Cantor’s, amnesty can be a powerful turnoff.