Primary season got off to a rocky start for Tea Party-backed, conservative candidates last week, but some local races are turning into huge upsets for the GOP. According to TheBlaze, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was booed and heckled during a rally in his home district on Saturday. To add insult to injury, Cantor loyalist and incumbent Linwood Cobb was defeated as chair of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee by Tea Party favorite Fred Gruber. Cobb’s defeat has been described as a “huge loss.”
Cantor is facing a challenger in the June 10 Republican primary, and the boos he received at Saturday’s event came as he criticized his opponent David Brat. Brat, who enjoys the support of the Tea Party and conservative groups, is a professor of economics at Randolph-Macon College.
“It is easy to sit in the rarified environs of academia, in the ivory towers of a college campus with no accountability and no consequence,” Cantor said of his opponent. “When you throw stones, you throw stones at all of us who are working every day to make a difference.”
For his part, Brat took a much more conciliatory approach.
“I don’t run against Eric on a personal basis,” Brat said. “I like Eric as a human being; I’m commanded by God to do that and I do that. He’s been strong on national defense, and where he’s good he’s good.”
On radio this morning, Glenn wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about the jeers Cantor faced, but he did commend Brat for being able to separate the personal from the political.
“Now, you know, I'm not for booing and jeering people per se. I mean what the heck, might as well. But it's probably beneath us a little bit,” Glenn said. “The reason why I bring this up is because I want to show you the guy who actually handled the situation perfectly. The guy that Eric Cantor was talking about… [is his] opponent David Brat… I don't know much about this guy, but just on that statement, I like him. More importantly, he happens to be right. Cantor has been very good on some issues. Is there a way for us to get somebody who is much, much better? Yes. And if we could find somebody who is better, why wouldn't we? We have to do better. And we have to do better in our own lives every day.”
Furthermore, Glenn praised those who showed their dismay with the status quo by taking the action step of actually voting against the Cantor-backed local GOP leader.
According to the Washington Post, the district chairman “is an internal party post, responsible for rallying activists and volunteers at election time — and with the power to influence state party decisions such as whether to hold primaries or conventions to choose party nominees. A chairman is selected only by party activists for each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.”
“The activists that gathered at that convention also just happened to do something else. They did something big-time right. They voted out Cantor's hand-picked district party chairperson and voted in the Tea Party-favorite instead,” Glenn said. “So while they booed – and I would have been there booing with them – they did the more important thing: They moved with their feet and their vote. They made a move. They, quite honestly, shocked Cantor and all of the party loyalists in Virginia.”
The local NBC affiliate described Gruber’s defeat of Cobb as a “huge loss."
“We need to do exactly the same in Nebraska… [and] in Kentucky with Matt Bevin,” Glenn concluded. “We have to be active and show what we believe with our feet. As David Brat said, we're commanded by God to do that, and we must do that.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP