Anti-Cantor coalition included Tea Partiers, Independents, Democrats

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cantor finally down
Cantor finally down (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

While the Tea Party has claimed the scalp of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor there are more than a few other people in Virginia’s 7th district who had a hand in his demise and they are celebrating right now. And many Democrats across the country are rejoicing too.

It’s a mistake to believe this is strictly a Tea Party victory, it’s also a victory for the Democratic party and the people of Virginia who, try as they might, had been unable in the past to rid themselves of a seven-term congressman they felt was entrenched and unseatable.

When I read the breaking news moments after Cantor’s defeat I ran to the phone to call my good friend Beq Johnson who lives in Virginia’s 7th district, Cantor’s district. I know a little bit about that district because I pounded the pavement there with Beq in the run up to the 2008 presidential election working for the Obama campaign (I wanted to be in Richmond, the one time capital and heart of the confederacy, when Obama won) and we’ve had many conversations over the years about Cantor’s hold over her district.

I caught Johnson before she’d heard the news, and she let out wild shrieks of joy. She shared with me her precinct had been “packed” with voters for this primary when she showed up at the polls to cast her vote. Johnson explained to me how in Virginia you don’t have to be registered for a party to vote in the party primaries, and everyone was out in full force yesterday. As a registered Independent, she cast her vote for Dave Brat in her state’s Republican primary.

I asked her a few questions about Cantor, to articulate how she felt about him, as one of his constituents. The most interesting part of this exchange comes towards the end. Remember, her district went blue for Obama, she says it’s a changing district. After my discussion with Beq, I’m not so sure the Tea Party could have pulled this victory off all by themselves, without voters like Beq.

 

What was it about him you didn’t like?

Everything about him, where do I start? That Bush self satisfied smirk, he knew he was their pet. He was being groomed, he got anything he wanted on a silver platter, they called him the Young Guns.

7th district, virginia (photo wiki commons)
7th district, virginia (photo wiki commons)

The district is crazy, totally gerrymandered. They cherry picked voters, givin’ his district to those likely to support him. Have you seen what it looks like? It’s got 2 legs sticking out of it!

It’s his hubris; a self-assuredness that he can’t be unseated. Every day in the mail- every – single- day, for 3 weeks- saying Brat was rubber stamping all Obama was doing [ed note- what USA Today called “far-fetched attacks on Brat“]. I tore it into little pieces and threw it away. Finally, something came from Brat today, first time. He refuted all of it. Between 6:30-6:45 there were a barrage of phone calls, way over a dozen. It’s a sign of how worried they were that there was all this activity.

What’s your bio?

I’m registered Independent, as left as they come, considering the alternative. I do not relate to the Tea Party at all, they’re funded by Koch brothers.

How many people like you who would identify as left or Dems do you think came out to vote in the GOP primary?

I wish I knew, I’m guessing a lot. Cantor has been entrenched since 2001, that’s 13 years, entrenched in my opinion. My precinct 7th district went for Obama- always thought of as Red, but my neighborhood went Blue when the state did. Very small town-ish, young creative professionals. The face of the neighborhood is changing, the state is going that way. I don’t know what to say except I couldn’t believe it when my precinct went Obama.

Do you think it would be a mistake to think that it was just the Tea Party that took him out?

Oh yeah, I don’t think the Tea Party is that strong here, I don’t think they are. I see some of those ‘Don’t tread on me’ license plates around, but ..he was defeated by a combination of  Tea Partiers and people like me. I was getting calls saying “we’ve got to get rid of him”, they started leaving messages. I’d say half and half  “Let’s get rid of Cantor.” Just as many people,  just wanted to get rid of Cantor, he was done in from both directions in my opinion.

…watching MSNBC and Brat is playing the God card. Funny, Brat and the guy he’ll run against, Jack Trammell, both teach at Randolph Macon College up the road in Ashland.

Virginia has a “sore loser” rule and Cantor can’t run as an independent.

Jack Trammell, Sign me up!

Jack Trammel just might have a decent stab at winning Virginia’s 7th district. Either way, it’s a win-win unseating Cantor. A very big fish.

Business Insider Democrats Rejoice After Cantor’s ‘Unfrigginbelievable’ Loss

Their shock hasn’t stopped liberals from rejoicing over the defeat of a man who earned the nickname “Dr. No” for his vigorous opposition to the Democratic agenda in Congress. The official who spoke with Business Insider described Cantor’s loss as being a “rebuke” of the GOP “on every level.”

…”I guarantee every single Republican Senate and gubernatorial candidate that has a primary left – and that’s a lot of them – their consultants and staff are doing emergency conference calls and hyperventilating into paper bags right now,” said the official. The official also said Cantor’s shocking shellacking proved Republican operatives have flawed “strategy” and “tactics.”

“Their pollsters had put out stuff that they were 34 points up,” the official said of Cantor’s campaign. “They’re just so out of tune with what the lay of the land is.”

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Thanks, Annie, I didn’t know that independents can vote in Virginia primaries, so that certainly puts a different spin on the result than we’ve heard from the mainstream media. My other take on this race: Cantor had the big bucks behind him and Brat had very little to spend. Whether… Read more »

I bet Republicans will try to eliminate open primaries now, and try to have only closed primaries in which only members of the party concerned are allowed to vote.

I too have been very annoyed by Cantor’s smirk.

Brat is an econ prof. Trammell is a sociology prof.

I’ll take Trammell and a Democrat, thanks very much! Not even close.

You guys at MW should stop navel-gazing. There are a *lot* of people who agree with you or could be persuaded to. The base of the Republican party is not the preening, warmongering, crony capitalists of the Bushes and Cantors of the world. If you stopped being so left-wing ideological,… Read more »

Your friend Beq’s interview was the best political news I’ve heard in a long, long time. I hope that the fact that left and far-right sort of came together to accomplish a common objective doesn’t begin and end with Cantor’s defeat. I hope they use this experience to forge bonds… Read more »