Eric Cantor’s surprise loss to fellow Republican David Brat in the Virginia primary elections Tuesday will reshape the leadership in the House, and it will have effects that reverberate into upcoming legislative fights. Here are three takeaways:
Money is something in politics, but it isn’t the only thing. Cantor raised more than $5 million, compared to about $200,000 for Brat. Consider this idea: having so little money may have helped Brat. He didn’t have the money to do major televsion advertising, so he didn’t get the scrutiny that comes with that.
The coming fight over the debt limit has taken on a new element. The U.S. has the borrowing authority to keep paying its bills, but only until March 2015. Cantor’s loss may make some Republicans less willing to support an increase in the debt ceiling. As lobbyist Steve Ryan put it, “It unsettles the firmament. There is a ripple in The Force, as we would say. And it’s just totally unpredictable now what’s going to happen out of that.”
It’s a new environment for businesses and lobbyists. One of the things that made Cantor so effective in the House was that Tea Party Republicans trusted him, and so did Wall Street. He was accessible to lobbyists, and he was seen as a good fundraiser for his party.
Graphic by Shea Huffman/Marketplace
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