Cantor loss leaves some Virginians stunned

CULPEPER, Va. (WUSA9) -- Eric Cantor earned a distinction he likely never wanted. Late last night, he became the first sitting House Majority leader to lose a party primary election since that position was established in 1899.

In 2012, Cantor easily won all nine Virginia counties in his jurisdiction plus Richmond city. But in an upset no one predicted, he succumbed to a stunning defeat.

In the 2012 primary, Cantor won Culpeper in a landslide with nearly 86% of the vote. Last night, he squeaked by, winning by just 58 votes.

"Everybody was blown away. Just totally shocked," said Culpeper resident Deb Mills.

"I'm shocked. I'm shocked. I was totally expecting him to win," chimed in John Croft, also of Culpeper.

In this historic town, the day after what was expected to be a routine primary election, residents are dumbfounded.

The House Majority Leader was running for an 8th term here in Virginia's 7th Congressional District.

"If it takes pulling him out to put somebody new in who thinks more like us, then that's what has to happen," said Christine Gomez, of Culpeper.

The local paper endorsed Cantor. But a collective weariness with the ways of Washington eclipsed all else, even Cantor's $5 Million dollar fundraising advantage.

"Really if we could get rid of the Congress and the Senate right now, I think most of us would praise the Lord for it, because we're really getting tired of liberals," Shira Powell told WUSA9.

"It's gonna have shock waves everywhere, for the rest of the political party and everybody realizing just because you're in doesn't mean you're going to stay in," added Mills.

While Culpeper remains in shock, on Capitol Hill, the scramble is already underway to replace the House Majority leader. He will step down in July.


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