More is being learned about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R) primary election loss in Virginia’s 7th CD. As is true for almost all political outcomes, there is more than one answer to explain this result and, not surprisingly, multiple elements contributed to the final conclusion.
While the immigration issue seems to be taking top billing as the principal reason for Cantor losing, in reality, it likely only played a secondary role. The fact that challenger and victor David Brat used the issue to his advantage – characterizing Cantor as supporting amnesty for illegal aliens – certainly helped color the Majority Leader in a negative light, but such a radical final electoral result cannot simply be explained as an extreme reaction to a controversial issue.
Contrast this outcome with that of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R) campaign in South Carolina. Graham was more identified with the immigration reform issue, and hails from a more conservative domain than Cantor’s central Virginia congressional district. Yet, the senator won a surprisingly large re-nomination victory on the same Continue reading >