Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine explains Eric Cantor’s Shocking, Richly Deserved defeat.
The shock contained by Cantor’s defeat is almost impossible to fully convey. Brat teaches economics at Randolph-Macon college, and won a $500,000 fellowship funded by libertarian banking millionaire John Allison to spread the word of Ayn Rand to impressionable college students. But there are so many millions of dollars sloshing around the conservative world that such an achievement hardly indicates fame or influence. Brat’s c.v. conveys his standing as an anonymous cog within the movement, containing such highlights as “Attend U.S. Senator Ayotte talk at American Enterprise Institute, met President of AEI, Arthur Brook.” (The President of the American Enterprise Institute is actually named Arthur Brooks.)
Brat was outraised by Cantor 25 to 1. Cantor’s internal polling had him leading the race by 34 points. Brat scheduled a meet-and-greet session with Beltway conservative leaders like Grover Norquist and Paul Weyrich — the kinds of movement hands an insurgent absolutely needs to woo to gain any oxygen for his quixotic campaign — but stood them up because it turned out to fall on finals week. The Washington Post story previewing the race this morning began:
A conservative challenger is expected to fall far short of defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in Tuesday’s congressional primary. Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years.