House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary challenge to a Tea Party challenger on Tuesday, in a political upset that caught TV commentators off guard and stands to shake up the ranks of congressional leadership.
He lost to Dave Brat, a college professor who ran to his right and raised just a fraction of the money for Tuesday’s primary. Brat had been backed by a number of talk radio hosts, yet raised just $200,000 to more than $5 million raised by Cantor.
“Truly stunned,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said via Tweet, reflecting the sentiment of many political correspondents and news hosts in D.C.
In an industry that leans to the left, Cantor was one of the few leaders to have forged some ties to entertainment. He appeared at the MPAA’s Creativity Conference in 2013, and spoke before the conservative industry group Friends of Abe. In 2009, he accepted an award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors, where he tried to find common ground with the creative industry by pointing to his support for free trade and, if necessary, production incentives.
“In a curious way, we are the opposite sides of the same coin, and if my seat in Congress brings with it a sacred duty, it is surely no less than the burden that you carry,” he told the gathering.”Your work truly inspires the world.”