Washington, and the nation, are still reeling over the unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a stunning upset by Tea Party candidate David Brat in Tuesday’s primary. His own pollster had him up by 34 points against the virtually unknown and underfunded Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College.
Some are blaming Cantor for not being focused enough on his constituency. “This is Eric Cantor’s fault. He was in Washington on primary day, not back in his district,” said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
Cantor disagreed saying, “I was in my district every week, so there’s a balance between holding a leadership position and serving constituents at home, but never was there a day I did not put the constituents of the 7th district of Virginia first.”
There is no disputing that overall Cantor has been a leader on policy issues important to the multifamily industry, including housing finance reform, flood insurance, terrorism insurance and the hotly debated issue of immigration reform. Experts are now working to determine how his dramatic loss will affect these issues and others.
Cantor announced on Wednesday that he will be giving up his leadership position and will put his support behind House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy in the emergency special election that will be held by Republicans next week.
Although Cantor described his surprising loss as a personal setback, many are reporting that he remained a class act following his loss. Specifically, numerous media outlets highlighted his “gracious” and “appreciative” words immediately after the primary results were announced - instead of the typical bitterness and partisanship, which are both common in Washington, especially in the face of defeat.