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Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-ranking House Republican, lost to Tea Party candidate David Brat by a stunning 11 points. National Democrats are now hoping Cantor will run as a write-in candidate in the general election, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, is allowed under state law, as long as he doesn’t run as an independent.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi said the American people should take notice because the Tea Party victory has pulled the Republican Party further to the “radical right.” The truth is, of course, that the Tea Party isn’t radical at all with its emphasis on limited government (I know, truly extreme stuff). Pelosi and her ilk are the ones who have pulled the Democratic Party to the radical left, especially with its maniacal devotion to amnesty—and establishment Republicans haven’t done enough to stop them. Virginians in District 7 have sent a clear message that they’ve had enough.
Now, Pelosi smells blood in the water. “As far as the midterm elections are concerned,” she said, “it’s a whole new ballgame.”
No doubt they’re hoping for a Democratic win with candidate Jack Trammell, a professor at Randolph-Macon College—the same college where Brat is an economics professor. The problem is that Virginia’s 7th District is heavily Republican, but Democrats see a crack in the armor if Cantor puts his name on the ballot and splits the Republican vote. He probably won’t do it—or at least that’s what’s being said in the press—but it’s still an option if establishment Republicans want to see Cantor back in the House, despite his trouncing in the primary by those meddling Tea Party kids.
According to Roll Call, local Republicans telegraphed that a Cantor write-in candidacy is “unlikely,” (that doesn’t sound very definitive), but the possibility is being mentioned throughout the media. After all, it worked for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2010 when she lost the Republican primary in Alaska. Why not try it for the second most powerful Republican in the House? Well, make that past tense.
Cantor said Tuesday night, “I believe there’s opportunity around the next corner for all of us. So I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause, because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that so many people are facing today.”
Will “continuing the fight” involve a write-in candidacy? Or will the GOP do what Jeff Ryer, communications director at the state Senate Republican Caucus, said: “Everybody will line up behind David Brat right away”? Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins made a similar vow when he said to Brat after he finished his victory speech, “Anything you need, you call me and we’ll get it.”
Will the commitment to line up behind David Brat start with sending a clear message to Cantor that he needs to stay out of the race? For the sake of unity—and a guaranteed Republican victory in November—let’s hope so.