RICHMOND, June 9, 2014 — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is facing a very different primary on Tuesday than the one he contested in 2012.
In 2012, Cantor, theoretically next in line for the House Speaker post, bested his primary opponent, Floyd Bayne 79 to 21 percent. The most recent poll on his re-election bid for Tuesday, June 10, conducted by Vox Populi, released Friday, showed Cantor holding a 52 to 39 percent lead over this year’s challenger, Dave Brat, Professor of Economics at Randolph-Macon College.
The campaign finance gap between the two candidates is of David vs.Goliath proportions. Cantor has spent nearly $2 million dollars and Brat has spent around $124,000. Even so, Brat is getting support from nationally known Tea Party and conservative talk radio icons Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham. They are helping Brat spread the message about Cantor’s dismal outcomes as Majority Leader in partnership with Speaker Boehner.
Cantor is vulnerable because of his votes on TARP, No Child Left Behind, repeated capitulation on the debt ceiling and lukewarm opposition to Obamacare. His critics point to what they see as a disgraceful lack of leadership on matters dealing with the economy and his lack of a laser focus on policies to stimulate real job growth.
But Cantor’s real soft underbelly, more than any other in this race, might be his instincts to foster the worst sort of immigration reform – not centered on enforcement and implementation of E-verify, but rather on increasing STEM workers and legalizing 12 million illegals, 8 million of which, are holding jobs Americans need.
CBS’ Richmond WTVR 6 News interviewed Eric Cantor last week and attempted to press him on his plans for immigration reform. He was asked what he thinks should be done concerning the illegals that are here now. He indicated an interest in working with Obama on the matter. “We can work on the border security bill together, we can work on something like the kids.”
This is interesting in light of Cantor’s other comments about how he has “stood up to the President” on a variety of issues while questioning his opponent’s ability or inclination to do so. Either Cantor is planning on “standing up to Obama” on his administration’s unilateral actions of abandoning enforcement, implementing illicit executive orders and dumping immigration detainees throughout the Western states, or he’s going to compromise with him.
Compromise has come to be known as a code word for capitulation. Cantor is a bag man for the United States Chamber of Commerce and has been tasked by them to expand guest worker programs, H1B quotas and to add to the influx of immigrants generally. As his opponent, Professor Brat describes it:
“Eric Cantor doesn’t represent you, he represents large corporations seeking a never-ending supply of cheap foreign labor. He doesn’t care about how this will affect your livelihood, your schools, your tax bills or your kids’ chances of finding a job. I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful. The central policy issue in this race has become Cantor’s absolute determination to pass an amnesty bill… this is not the Republican way to fix our economy and labor markets.”
Cantor has been blitzing the mailboxes of district residents with flyers that attempt to portray him as an anti-Amnesty candidate. Tea Party members look at Cantor’s many attempts to foster a path to citizenship for illegals and scoff at Cantor’s opportunistic shift in this election. As Laura Ingraham cautions:
“Anyone who’s ever had any wiggle room or squishy language on the issue of immigration has always moved to the amnesty position eventually. If people say the following–well, you can’t deport 11 million people; we have to pull these people out of the shadows; the system is broken; we have de facto amnesty.”
There’s every likelihood that if Cantor survives this election, he’ll repudiate his campaign literature and resume his focus on bringing in more guest workers, boosting immigration levels and granting legalized status to millions of illegals.
Although Dave Brat seems to be closing the gap, he still has some ground to cover before Monday. But for Eric Cantor, who’ll be spending an additional million dollars on this race before it grinds to a close, even a narrow victory won’t prevent him from facing his next challenge – an energized House Tea Party caucus that will block his every move to take over when John Boehner retires.
Cantor’s devious actions in promoting the path to citizenship for illegals may wash out his path to the Speaker’s office.