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Who had the worst week in Washington? Cantor

June 16, 2014 - 12:05am

In politics, it’s never good when your name becomes a verb.

To wit: “Cantored” — meaning to be unexpectedly knocked from a high spot.

As in Eric Cantor, who, until Tuesday night, was the second-most-powerful person in the Republican-controlled House and the favorite to be the next speaker.

That all ended when Cantor lost — and lost badly — his primary fight against David Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College who premised his entire campaign on the idea that the House majority leader wasn’t serving the people of Virginia’s 7th District.

Never mind that Cantor outspent Brat by 40 to 1. Or that the Cantor campaign released an internal poll in the final week of the race that had him ahead of Brat by 34 points. Or that no House majority leader had ever been defeated in a primary.

Cantor’s loss shook Washington in a way that few election results have in recent years. (This is largely because the proliferation of polling has made electoral surprises rare.) Within 24 hours of his defeat, Cantor made clear that he wouldn’t try to run as a write-in candidate and that he would resign his leadership post by the end of next month.

Cantor’s loss set off a broader debate within the GOP about how much power the tea party has — and how much it should have — at a time when Republicans want to keep the focus squarely on President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Eric Cantor, even you will admit you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.

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