The historic loss of Eric Cantor, the US House majority leader, in the Virginia primary yesterday has sent the Republican party into shock and created the chance for a candidate with Tea Party backing to go for a leadership post and put Washington into gridlock for years to come.
A Republican familiar with Cantor says that is highly unlikely that he will quit his leadership post in the House of Representatives. John Boehner, the speaker of the House ‒ who has already been struggling with his caucus over such basic bills as government funding and trying to support business by coming up with a way to rewrite immigration laws ‒ will find his job made even harder by David Brat’s 56% to 44% victory over Cantor, who is the second highest-ranking Republican in the House.
“It is stunning on so many levels,” admits George W Bush’s former press secretary Ari Fleischer, who also worked as a House aide at one time. “The most important is it likely means that there is no chance that immigration reform gets on the House floor this summer.”
Ron Bonjean, an aide to Illinois Republican and former House speaker J Dennis Hastert, says that the shock defeat seems likely to accelerate the process by which members of the Tea Party start to position themselves for a run at the leadership. Members who have blocked votes in the House on issues such as immigration reform are also likely to be emboldened by the result.