Tea Party-backed newcomer David Brat is winning with a large margin of victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tonight in the Virginia primaries, with a campaign from the right that focused on the Republican leader's support for comprehensive immigration reform. It's no understatement to say that very few people saw this coming (ahem). As of 8 PM, Cantor had 43.8 percent of the vote, while Brat was pulling in 56.2 percent. That's with 71 percent of precincts reporting, according to Politico. The AP called the race for Brat soon after.
I really undersold Cantor's primary challenger's chances of success in today's column. http://t.co/TgDLNPTtGM— Jim Antle (@jimantle) June 10, 2014
The reign of Speaker Gohmert is nigh— Adam Smith (@asmith83) June 10, 2014
Cantor's internal polling put the candidate ahead with more than a 30-point margin of victory as late as last week, as the Washington Post reported at the time.
he won with nearly 80 percent of the vote. So until the votes started coming in Tuesday evening, the question on most people's minds was not whether Cantor would lose to Brat, but whether Brat could send a message by just narrowing Cantor's margin of victory enough for anyone to notice. He did that, and then some.