RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in his Republican primary election Tuesday to a little-known economics professor, a stunning upset for the GOP's No. 2 in the House and a major victory for the tea party.
Cantor, viewed as a possible successor to House Speaker John Boehner, was taken down by a political novice with little money named Dave Brat. His win marked the biggest triumph this year for tea party supporters who until a few years ago backed Cantor, a former state legislator who rose to Majority Leader in 2011.
"Obviously we came up short," Cantor told glum supporters at a suburban Richmond hotel, conceding the race with his wife, Diane, at his side.
Much of the campaign centered on immigration, where critics on both sides of the debate have recently taken aim at Cantor. Brat has accused him of being a top cheerleader for "amnesty" for immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally. Cantor has responded forcefully by boasting in mailers of blocking Senate plans "to give illegal aliens amnesty."