In May, Cantor’s senior strategist Ray Allen told ABC they didn't see “[Brat] getting a great deal of traction.”
This win also upends the conventional wisdom that the tea party was losing this primary cycle.
“The statement from the grassroots could not be any clearer. It doesn’t matter what office you hold or how powerful you are. If you lose touch with activists on the ground, then your seat is in danger,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement.
According to Kondik at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, since World War II “only two percent of House members who sought another term have lost re-nomination.”
Although it is far from clear if Cantor would wage a write-in bid, Kondik says it “appears that he could run as a write-in if he wanted to. It would be his only way. It seems to be a legal possibility.”
In 2010, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski waged a successful write-in campaign against Joe Miller when she too lost a shocking primary. Murkowski actually conceded to Miller before changing her mind and waging the write-in effort. It is hard to compare anything to the unique Alaska electorate, but both Murkowski and Cantor have nearly universal name recognition in their respective states, and they both are able to raise money.
“There is only one other member of the House that lost re-nomination this year,” Kondik noted. “(Texas’) Ralph Hall. It’s not like we had a flood of these upsets and I don’t expect there to be a flood afterwards. This is a weird fluky event.”
In a statement, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Cantor’s loss, “settles the debate once and for all - the Tea Party has taken control of the Republican Party. Period.”
“When Eric Cantor, who time and again has blocked common-sense legislation to grow the middle class, can't earn the Republican nomination, it's clear the GOP has redefined 'far right.' Democrats on the other hand have nominated a mainstream candidate who will proudly represent this district and I look forward to his victory in November,” Schultz said in a statement.