Lynchburg, VA- Total shock. A complete upset. Proof that money doesn't make a campaign. That's how Tuesday night's Republican primary race in northern Virginia is being described.
Congressman Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, lost to a nearly unknown Tea Party candidate. Now analysts are trying to figure out exactly what this means for both parties. In effect, the race for the 7th district just got very interesting. Democrats across the state are mobilizing, getting ready for a race that they thought Republicans had in the bag.
"Shock. I think everyone in the Commonwealth was stunned by the results when they started coming in. No one expected to see such an upset," said Katie Webb Cyphert, the Chair of the Lynchburg Democratic Committee.
No one saw it coming, because no poll predicted it, or even got close. Unknown Tea Party Candidate Dave Brat kicked out the incumbent, and second most powerful member of the House of Representatives. Eric Cantor has already announced he is resigning as House Majority leader effective July 31st.
"Disappointing, sure. But I believe in this country. I believe there is opportunity around the next corner for all of us," said Cantor.
Analysts are trying to figure out why 7th district voters took such a grass roots run, bypassing Cantor and his $5 million campaign for Brat's $300,000 effort.
"The reason we won this campaign. Dollars do not vote. You do," said Brat.
Democrats are hoping to capitalize on the upset. Katie Webb Cyphert says it will be all hands on deck now to try and get a foot in a normally Republican door.
"I think it puts it in play. I think it's going to be a very interesting race to watch since you no longer have an incumbent. And even though that seat has traditionally voted Republican, the voters are really going to be focused on the actual issues instead of on power and seniority," said Cyphert.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte released a statement Wednesday saying, "I thank Eric Cantor for his dedicated service to his District and the American people and his friendship and congratulate Dave Brat on his nomination."
And another interesting note on this race: with Brat's win, both the Republican and Democratic choice for the 7th district are professors at the same school-- Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.??