Eric Cantor’s wake-up call at the Virginia Republican District Convention

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WASHINGTON, May 10, 2014 – Saturday morning dawned for what should have been a great day for Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. With the Democrats holding all five of Virginia’s state wide offices, Cantor is arguably the top Republican. He is the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and has fought his Republican opponents with the tenacity of TV’s fictional congressman Frank Underwood.

Cantor’s home base is Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. That district covers some of the suburbs of Richmond before heading north and almost touching the suburbs of Washington.

Every two years, each Republican District holds a District Convention.  The most important business and sometimes the only business of the District Convention is to select the District Chairman.  That is an important position as the District Chairman has a significant influence over the politics of the district.


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Eric Cantor emerged into the halls of the Richmond Hilton, located in Henrico County. He walked with the swagger of a conquering general.

And why shouldn’t he. This was his powerbase.

Cantor’s campaign had bought out all of the rooms in the hotel so his challenger, conservative college professor Dave Brat had to plan his rally across the street from the hotel at a Honey Baked Ham store. Cantor’s team bused in delegates on tour buses who lived some distance from Richmond.

The convention was severely divided. Lynwood Cobb, the incumbent who was supported by Cantor, was challenged by Fred Gruber, a Tea Party favorite.

Dave Brat
Dave Brat

The first course of business was to elect a temporary chairman for the convention.  Eric Cantor’s team supported Virginia Delegate Manoli Loupassi.  Gruber’s team nominated one candidate, Russ Moulton, who was ruled to be ineligible for the office.  The team scrambled to find a second candidate who lost the vote.

As Loupassi took the podium, it looked like Cantor and his forces would carry the day.

As the vote for Chairman happened, Cantor’s challenger was given the opportunity to speak to the convention. His supporters cheered him loudly, to the surprise of the Cantor people.  Brat challenged Cantor on his dishonest ads and his refusal to debate.

Then Cantor was given the opportunity to speak.


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Any illusions that the convention was going his way were quickly dissolved as Cantor was loudly booed by Tea Party activists and others supporting Dave Brat and Fred Gruber. Chants of “Liar” and “Debate” were heard through the large convention room.

Cantor was visibly flustered and very visibly angered at the reception he received. Immediately after his speech, he left.

The ultimate shock came when the votes were counted. The Republican Party of Virginia uses a weighted voting system that favors counties that have larger Republican turn out.

When the votes were counted, Fred Gruber had defeated Cantor’s hand picked Chairman Lynwood Cobb, 675.8 to 630. (The .8 is because of the weighting formula).

After the convention, some Cantor supporters left gracefully, congratulating Gruber supporters for the win. Others stormed away. More than one was heard to threaten to pull their money from the GOP because Cantor’s hand picked Chairman lost.

Many in the grassroots have neither forgotten about nor forgiven the establishment for not supporting the conservative Republican ticket for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general last year.  All three lost.

For Cantor, this can be nothing short of a red alert moment.  The base of his power in Virginia has been cracked.  Cantor’s team could not turn out enough voters for his people to keep control of the 7th District.

On June 10th, Virginia will hold its congressional primaries.  It is the live or die moment for Eric Cantor.  There is no Democrat on the ballot so the winner of the primary wins all.

Dave Brat now has huge momentum going into the primary with a base that is fired up.

On June 10th, the Congressional races will be the top races on the ballot.  That means there will be a low turn out and get out the vote efforts will be crucial.


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But there is another wild card to consider.

Eric Cantor is the Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.  Many Democrats may entertain the idea of crossing over and voting in the Republican Primary just to defeat Cantor.

A conservative insurgency in Eric Cantor’s district defeated his chairman on Saturday.  The question now is, will Cantor suffer the same fate in June.

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Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet. A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says. Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC. “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based. Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville. Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’ I did.” The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown. It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed. Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker. He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should. He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.
  • Guest

    Cobb lost a bunch of votes because of games Loupassi played as the temporary Chairman. The biggest mistake was not allowing the Rule’s Committee report to be corrected. The report claimed rules were given to every delegate at the registration desk, but almost half of the Convention never saw these rules. They didn’t have anything other than name badges when I registered and looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked if there were any handouts. Accepting a report with a blatant lie is totally unacceptable.

    Loupassi’s constant ignoring of other TEA party motions and questions highlighted the way Cantor and company are use to abusing their power. It was disgusting and completely contrary to his promise to run a fair meeting. I lost all respect for him today.

    If he had actually run a fair meeting, I think Cobb would have won with the same or better vote total as his side had on the first vote of the day.

  • Laurence Nordvig

    Atta boy Judson!

  • Mari Alvarez

    Where’s the video? I wanted to see Cantor get his rude awakening…he’s nothing but another RINO who believes he’s untouchable.

  • Ray Jacobsen

    Fire Congress
    Can Cantor
    Be a Brat…Voter!

  • 7bill_lee7

    Replace all RINOs! Every last one of them.

  • GGH

    ROBERT HURT, you better let this be a lesson to you sir. The Tea Party in the 7th wiped the floor with your establishment trash cohort, and we will do it again in the 5th sir. I was at the kangaroo court yesterday in Moneta where Bill Stanley presided, but your hand picked establishment goons lost. The district committee found that the Campbell County Mass Meeting in March was full of impropriety, yet your 5th District Chairman Bill Stanley had clear directives to see that the impotence of the committee would provide no remedy or relief for outright cheating. So the rules according to Robert Hurt, Bill Stanley and Eric Cantor are as follows: 1) Cheating is OK as long as you have enough cheaters to shout down the impugned. 2) It is perfectly acceptable to spend tax payer dollars to lobby on your own behalf. 3) Even when you get caught, just wipe the blood off your nose and move on because accountability and justice are concepts of antiquity. 4) Mike Thomas is happy to do your dirty work for you as long as everybody’s power is preserved. 5) Chairmanships are easy to buy with money, influence and political favors.

    The 5th District does not serve you Robert. You serve us. Clearly, you and Cantor have deep pockets, long puppet strings, and tax payer funded influence on the delegates, but you will lose. Those elected offices belong to the people of the 5th District just like they belong to the people of the 7th District.

    7th District Tea Party friends, congratulations and thank you!

  • Guest/Campbell County

    7th District Meeting Attendees: Thank you for blackening the eye of a power hungry establishment RINO. Thank you for letting your voice be heard. Thank you for letting Eric know that he is supposed to be the servant of the 7th District, and that the 7th District is not the servant of the elected office holder. We’re trying to send the same message to our Congressman who looks at the same playbook over hear in the 5th District.

  • carl arasi

    I would love to see Cantor voted out!!

  • wildman

    see ya eric cannot

    • Harry McMerkin

      Not if you don’t act. Everybody has a piece of this. Donate, volunteer, blog, comment, and vote if you can.

      • wildman

        you do your part and dont worry about me slick – I’m doing my part to rid us of cantor,mclame,boehner and the rest of the ovomit ball sak sukin lap dogs

        • Harry McMerkin

          I remember doing my part and volunteering for Cuccinelli and the conservative ticket in VA for Gov, LG and AG. I remember donating, making phone calls and knocking on doors. The result was disappointing. Today, I don’t hesitate to encourage like minded people to get involved.

  • Vbolenko

    Remove Cantor

  • Harry McMerkin

    My enemy’s enemy is my friend. All Democrats are welcome to cross party lines and vote for in the June 10th primary.

  • ShaggyVI

    off with their heads!!!

  • becky21k

    Let’s hope so, and good riddance.

  • Six Edits

    Our gadgets, gizmos, computers, and vehicles were first produced in small quantities for those able to afford them and free to enjoy them.

  • Daybreak

    I believe Judson Philips is correct. “Many Democrats may entertain the idea of crossing over and voting in the Republican Primary just to defeat Cantor.” I believe many out-of-state democrats swayed the Governor, LG, and AG elections last year as well. Why can’t there just be a fair, honest vote of VA officials in VA by Virginians who don’t need to play games to win? Stop playing games and be honest, Virginians! May the best man (or woman) win by an honest vote by the majority of Virginians!

  • Nancy

    The video of Cantor is posted. It’s worth watching!

  • Ron Benghazi Hedlund

    Good article. Now let us get out the vote and elect Dave Brat.

  • No One Important

    And hence why no one is talking about the real reason Cantor lost.He angered the grassroots. . . .and they gave him payback.He didn’t lose because of immigration or any other nonsense. . .He lost because he tried to purge the grassroots. . . . and they gave him “retribution”. . . .Lesson to the GOP – figure out a way to get along with the grassroots in your party, or prepare to feel their wrath. . . ..