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In a monumental upset, David Brat has defeated the second highest-ranking Republican in the House, Eric Cantor.
Brat was, by all accounts, the underdog. An economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, he did not have access to the same level of funding that Cantor—a GOP establishment type—was able to raise. To curb his major disadvantage, Brat attacked Cantor on his position on immigration reform, and his votes to raise the debt ceiling as well as end the government shutdown. This display of strong conservatism attracted a following from Tea Party activists. Cantor would not go quietly, however, spending over $5 million on his campaign, according to a report from Open Secrets.
This is in contrast to Brat’s $120,000. The Tea Party would prove too powerful a movement for Cantor to overcome, and the AP has today confirmed his defeat.
Cantor was the likely replacement for John Boehner as Speaker should he retire, but his loss throws the Republican Party into a state of flux. The Tea Party groundswell has proved today that it has the capacity to take down the top dogs in the GOP. It would seem that no one is safe.
Brat will take on a fellow professor at Randolph-Macon, Democrat Jack Trammell, in the general election this fall, according to The Washington Post.