U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia lost to a Tea Party challenger on Tuesday in a stunning Republican primary upset that sent shockwaves through Congress and gave the conservative movement a landmark victory.
Cantor, the No 2 Republican in the House, was easily beaten on Tuesday by David Brat, a college economics professor who accused Cantor of betraying conservative principles on spending, debt and immigration.
"The reason we won this campaign, if there\’s just one reason, that\’s because dollars do not vote, you do. This campaign was about just basic American values and virtues right from the beginning. And the basic premise is power belongs to the people and that\’s what we\’re going to do," Brat stated.
Brat raised little money, but gained support from both voters and conservative media personalities by accusing Cantor of supporting a plan to grant illegal immigrants in the U.S. an easy path to citizenship, which opponents have criticized as an "amnesty."
Many political observers say Cantor\’s upset loss has scuttled any chance of passing legislation to reform the nation\’s immigration system.
Addressing his supporters Tuesday night, Cantor called his loss "dissapointing" but stessed that he believes "there\’s opportunity around the next corner for all of us."
The 51-year-old Cantor was first elected to the House in 2000 from a district that includes Richmond, Virginia\’s capital city. He rose quickly through the Republican leadership ranks, and earned support among Tea Party lawmakers for his demands to cut government spending.
Cantor was considered likely to replace House Speaker John Boehner after the November congressional elections.
Source – VOA and agencies