In what is nothing less than a political earthquake, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost the Republican primary for Virginia's 7th District, to Tea Party challenger and college professor Dave Brat.
Brat based much of his campaign on opposition to Cantor's work on comprehensive immigration reform. And now the voters back home have both rewarded Brat with a tremendous upset victory — and utterly overturned any previous narratives about the GOP establishment winning its struggles against Tea Party insurgency.
With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Brat has triumphed over Cantor with 56 percent of the vote, against Cantor's 44 percent, and the Associated Press has projected Brat as the winner. Just a few days ago, Cantor's campaign had an internal poll that showed the incumbent ahead of Brat by 34 points — a result that obviously has not come to pass.
And as it turns out, Democrats have a candidate for this sudden open seat in just the nick of time. Just yesterday, the district's Democratic committee nominated a little-known candidate, Jack Trammell — who is also a professor at the same school as Dave Brat, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. So this all might make for a fun discussion at the next faculty meeting.
However, the fact remains that the district is strongly Republican, as Mitt Romney carried it in 2012 with 57 percent of the vote.