- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia has lost his primary to a Tea Party challenger, hailed by many as a major upset.
In results reported Tuesday evening for the seventh congressional district of Virginia incumbent, he was defeated by David Brat, a Tea party activist and economics professor.
With 86.5 percent of results reported, Brat garnered 55.9 percent to Cantor's 44.1 percent of the vote.
Cantor has served in the United States House of Representatives since 2001, having been majority leader during the 112th and 113th Congress.
"A former small businessman, Eric has emerged as a leading voice on the economy and job creation. His commentary is often featured in publications focusing on a wide range of issues including economic matters, health care and foreign policy," reads Cantor's House web page.
"A proponent of a strong national defense, Eric formerly chaired the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and remains committed to providing our nation's military and intelligence communities with the resources they need to keep the homeland safe."
A product of the Midwest, Brat has not only a background in economics but also theology, having attained a masters in divinity at Princeton.
"A man of deep faith, Dave attends St. Mary's Catholic Church with his wife Laura and their two children: Jonathan, 15 and Sophia, 11," described Brat's campaign website.
"Dave is running because the political and economic systems are broken. We live in an era of inter-generational theft; we are racking up bills only to hand them off to our children. Dave Brat is committed to getting our fiscal house in order."
Many found this as a surprise victory for Brat, as people like Rachel Weiner of The Washington Post reported that Brat "is expected to fall far short of defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in Tuesday's congressional primary."
"Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years," wrote Weiner.
"Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million."
Tuesday was primary day for multiple congressional districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The state has a mixed system, where some districts hold conventions to determine candidates for the November elections while others have voters determine the candidates.
In addition to Brat's victory in Seventh District, in the Eighth Congressional District former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer will likely win the Democratic primary to find a replacement for the retiring long-serving Congressman Jim Moran.