Eric Cantor Lost Touch With His Constituents Before Primary Loss

On the night Eric Cantor lost to David Brat in the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, Twitter was “atwitter” with the fact that Cantor had spent more in steakhouses during the campaign than Brat had spent total.

This served to reinforce the narrative that Cantor was in all those steakhouses fat-catting with his campaign staff while Brat’s hungry advisers were pounding the pavement. But what Cantor really was doing in those steakhouses more accurately explains his loss. He was raising funds – and helping others to raise funds – for fellow Republicans throughout the House of Representatives.

He made time for big-dollar private fundraisers to curry favor with other members of Congress, but hedid not make time for constituent service. He walked the halls of power instead of the streets of his suburban Richmond district. His approach to Brat was to caricature him as an extremist one-issue candidate with scurrilous friends and little idea of what he would do if elected when his constituents wanted to hear what he planned to do to better serve their interests.

And after all, he was the House majority leader. He not only could direct legislation to help his district and state, he could lean on appropriators – many of whose campaigns he had helped fund – to get things done. But it turns out having your congressman in a leadership position doesn’t have the appeal it used to.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

Do you like this post?
Analysis & Political Strategy