Campaign 2010

Jun 12, 2014

Cantor Repercussions Loud and Clear: House Republicans Shake Markets, Embolden Tea Party

Not even 48 hours after Republican Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking primary loss the repercussions are being felt far and wide. The chaos and imminent lurch to the right in the House Republican caucus are shaking financial markets and emboldening Tea Party primary challengers around the country – and it is once again hardworking middle class families that will pay the price.  

As this Republican Congress embraces the far right, it abandons the middle and draws a strong contrast with Democrats who are focused on mainstream ideas to strengthen the middle class. 

See for yourself:

New York Times: “The sudden and decisive fall of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, at the hands of a conservative primary opponent tore open divisions among Republicans on Wednesday, setting off a new wave of fear that the internecine feuding would stymie policy-making and imperil Republican presidential prospects in 2016. [...]‎ The upset, unrivaled in the history of congressional primaries, will immediately push Republicans to the right, almost certainly end any prospect for an immigration overhaul this year and empower hard-liners like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who believe the Republican Party has not kept faith with a vocal base that demands unflinching opposition to President Obama.” [New York Times, 6/11/12]

Wall Street Journal: “In an otherwise quiet trading environment, some renewed concerns out of Washington have at least briefly given markets a jolt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 102 points on Wednesday, the biggest drop in three weeks, as U.S. politics emerged as a potential worry for investors for the first time in months. The unexpected defeat in a Republican primary of Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.), the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, sent ripples across Wall Street.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/12/14]

Washington Post: “The primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday will rank as one of the great political upsets in at least a generation and promises to scramble the legislative dynamics in an already dysfunctional and ideologically divided Congress. […]The results also threw the House Republican Conference — the formal name of a caucus that has ranged from recalcitrant to ungovernable in the GOP’s four years in the majority — into open turmoil over its leadership team […] Cantor’s loss deals a serious blow to the efforts he helped lead in trying to create a new brand for Republicans that would appeal to suburban and independent voters. It began more than a year ago, with his “Making Life Work” agenda, and continued into this spring as he tried to tame some of his state’s most fervent conservative ideologues.” [Washington Post, 6/10/14]

Politico: “BEHIND THE CURTAIN: House GOP  leaders jammed the leadership races into next week to prevent hardliners from taking over, perhaps for good.  If members of the Heritage-tea party axis get their candidate and strategy ready by Monday morning, they have ample time to knock off Whip Kevin McCarthy, the current #2, who’s running to replace Eric Cantor as majority leader; win the whip job, too; and position themselves for the speakership when Boehner steps down. This would give tea partiers the top and bottom of the House, and allow them to squeeze out the rest as committee chairs are picked in the future. This plot is tempting for activists -- and not unrealistic. The establishment -- a week ago seen as ascendant -- would be demolished in the House. The right could make this a litmus test for members, shame and bully them, and make sure that come next Thursday, the establishment they want dead is dead in the House.” [Politico Playbook, 6/12/14]

National Journal:  “Eric Cantor is gone, and if they're not careful, John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy could be next. […] Cantor's loss not only means there will be a vacant spot in leadership, it also invites more dramatic action from that clutch of conservatives who have grown increasingly disenchanted with a leadership team that they view as out of touch—demographically, ideologically, and strategically—with the membership of the House Republican Conference. Those conservatives, suddenly smelling blood in the water, might now be emboldened to push for a wholesale change in leadership—ousting Boehner and McCarthy in this November's conference elections, and entering the next Congress with a new top three.” [National Journal, 6/10/14]

Buffalo News: “‘People are saying to me now, ‘I wish I had run against Chris Collins,’  Rus Thompson, one of Buffalo area’s leading tea party activists, said, without revealing who that possible candidate might have been. It’s too late for that to happen this year because the primary filing deadline has passed, but Thompson said he wouldn’t be surprised if both Collins and Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, find themselves fending off challenges from the right in 2016.” [Buffalo News, 6/11/14]

Washington Post: “Cantor’s decision – made just hours after he lost a primary contest to tea party-backed economist Dave Brat – comes as several senior Republicans began scrambling Wednesday to build support and fill the leadership vacuum. […] In a caucus deeply divided between establishment Republicans and fire-breathing conservatives, [Boehner and Cantor] were the two who had shown some ability to keep order.” [Washington Post, 6/11/14] “As for [Congressman Lee] Terry he admits to a bit of shell-shock, telling CNN that Cantor’s loss ‘is sending shivers through the Republican conference…this is very much a non-establishment year, if you’re in Congress, people are angry at you.’” [, 6/12/14]

Republican Rep. Peter King:  “Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he wondered whether the GOP was crumbling as a whole. ‘I don’t know where we go now as a party,’ he said in an interview. ‘I’m very concerned that we may go all the way to the right.’”  [Washington Post, 6/11/14]

Former Republican Rep. Tom Davis:  “‘There are some very angry people upset with the status quo, and Eric became part of that,’ said former Representative Thomas M. Davis III, a Virginia Republican. ‘He was the only conduit they have to express their anger right now. And when Eric Cantor, a conservative and member of the leadership, is too moderate, it sends a chilling effect to other Republicans and makes it that much harder to cross over and work together.’” [New York Times, 6/10/14]

Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich: “‘I think this is a scale eight earthquake. I think it will shock the Washington establishment; it will shock the House Republicans,’ former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said. […] ‘It certainly upsets the balance of power inside the Republican conference.’” [CNN, 6/11/14]

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: “‘Is this helpful? No. Nobody can say this is helpful,’ said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.), who is working to win GOP support for a bill giving legal status to undocumented immigrants.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/11/14]

Republican Strategist Ron Bonjean: “‘This stunning news could be the first shot in an all-out war between the establishment and tea party over leadership control,’ said GOP political strategist Ron Bonjean, a former top aide to Republican leaders.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/11/14]

Former Republican Rep. Vin Weber: “‘This is an earthquake,’ said former congressman Vin Weber (R-Minn.), a friend of Cantor.” [Washington Post, 6/10/14]

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry:  “In a shorter timeframe, one thing is clear: ‘This rocks the Republican conference, for sure,’ said Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina in a reference to the party’s House leadership line-up.” [Bloomberg, 6/11/14]

Republican Strategist Brian Walsh:  “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s not concerning,” Walsh said. [Washington Post, 6/10/14]