WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Officials say House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post this summer after losing a primary election Tuesday night in a major upset.
A fight over immigration turned physical after Cantor’s concession speech that night, as he was seen as both a proponent and opponent at times for reform. Many now think that getting a reform bill to the House floor will be much more difficult.
For Beatrice Carballo of Mexico and her three children – who were all born here in the D.C. area – the wait for amnesty may have just gotten much longer and more uncertain:
“I mean it's true, we're not concerned about our children because they have papers, but what if we're stopped one day by the police because we don't have papers? What are our children going to do? I don't have any additional family members who can take care of them."
Meanwhile in Ashland, Virginia, people are talking about why they voted for Dave Brat, and specifically, why they didn’t vote for Eric Cantor.
Like many local Republicans, Bill Ewald thinks Cantor had become out of touch with the 7th District:
"I haven't seen Cantor anyplace. He's too good to come around and see everybody."
After serving for 13 years, Cantor’s 11-point loss to Brat stunned the political world. David Brat, a 49-year-old economics professor from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, raised just $200,000 compared with Cantor’s $2 million.
Following his win last night, even Brat seemed surprised by the outcome:
"This is a miracle from God, what just happened."
James Hohmann with POLITICO says Cantor never thought he would lose, and spent a lot of money attacking Brat to make sure of that. But in the end, his plan backfired because it got Brat’s name out there.
"What happened here is Eric Cantor got overconfident. The biggest tactical mistake Cantor made is he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on negative TV commercials against an unknown guy -- one of the first rules of politics is you never punch down."
"It's roughly 70 years of seniority that's out the window," adds POLITICO editor Steve Shepard. "It's a lot of clout that Virignia's lost. Eric Cantor was really the speaker-in-waiting, and that would have been some extraordinary power for Virginia."
It seems absolutely no one saw this coming, not even winner Dave Brat.
Actor and political activist Ben Jones, best known for playing "Cooter" on the show "Dukes of Hazard," once ran against Cantor as a Democrat. This year, he called on Democrats to vote for Brat and help Cantor lose:
"He had gotten too big for his britches, and they brought the boy home."
"Virginia, you remember, has no voter registration by party," says Shepard, who explains it's possible non-Republicans played a role in Cantor's defeat:
"It does seem like turnout increased, and it may have been among people who don't vote regularly in Republican primaries."
The decision would clear the way for a leadership shake-up just months before midterm elections with control of the House at stake.
Cantor's office declined to comment.
Other House Republicans are already jockeying for position. Kevin McCarthy of California, who serves as the party whip, has been telling fellow Republicans that he will try to succeed Cantor. Pete Sessions of Texas also signaled an interest.