Tea Party challenger and Princeton Theological Seminary graduate Dave Brat handed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor a stunning defeat in the GOP primary of Virginia's conservative 7th congressional district Tuesday, which sent shockwaves across the country and a declaration from the anti-establishment force that it isn't dead.
Brat's win was a major blow to the Republican Party as Cantor was a leading candidate to succeed Speaker John A. Boehner, according to a report in The New York Times.
His win also has the potential to change the immigration discussions in Washington as well as influence the upcoming midterm elections.
Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., defeated Cantor with a budget of just $200,000 and a platform that included heavy criticism of Cantor for being too soft on immigration.
"The American people want to pay attention to serious ideas again," said Brat in an interview with Fox News shortly after his win. "Our founding was built by people who were political philosophers, and we need to get back to that, away from this kind of cheap political rhetoric of right and left."
He will now contend with Jack Trammell, a Democrat and colleague professor at Randolph-Macon College.
Cantor, the second-most powerful leader in the House who was in his seventh term, was very brief in his concession speech and said his time in Congress and as a majority leader "has been one of the highest honors of my life," according to a USA Today report.
"It's disappointing, sure. But I believe in this country. I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us," said Cantor, who is the highest-ranking Republican to lose renomination to a Tea Party challenger, according to USA Today.
"Brat ran an aggressive campaign with strong Tea Party support and perhaps some voters felt that Cantor was not doing enough for those in his home district," Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who resides in Cantor's district, told USA Today.
But it was a little more than just running an aggressive campaign that worked for Brat explained Virginia Republican and former Representative Thomas M. Davis III.
"There are some very angry people upset with the status quo, and Eric became part of that," he told The New York Times. "He was the only conduit they have to express their anger right now. And when Eric Cantor, a conservative and member of the leadership, is too moderate, it sends a chilling effect to other Republicans and makes it that much harder to cross over and work together."
Even Democrats were shocked by Cantor's loss. They didn't even know the name of the Democratic challenger in the district.
"I never thought I'd see the day that Eric Cantor would be losing his primary," Representative Louise M. Slaughter of New York, the senior Democrat on the House Rules Committee told The Times.
WATCH DAVE BRAT INTRODUCE HIMSELF BELOW: