Eric Cantor apparently won’t be missed by many after his surprising loss in a Republican primary this week.
The House Majority leader, who suffered a shocking loss to Tea Party candidate David Brat, a little known college professor, had made many enemies on both sides of the aisle throughout his career.
“Cantor was never well liked,” reported Jon Ward, “especially by conservatives, who considered him a fraud.”
Cantor and his staff rankled many in Washington with their brash demeanor, conservative blogger Erick Erickson reported.
“One conservative recently told me that Cantor’s staff were the ‘biggest bunch of a**holes on the Hill.’ An establishment consultant who backed Cantor actually agreed with this assessment. That attitude moved with Cantor staffers to K Street, the NRSC, and elsewhere generating ill will toward them and Cantor.”
Erickson noted that after Cantor’s loss, he got “more than a handful of emails” from established Republicans happy that Cantor was gone and expressing variants of “good riddance.”
The Obama administration was especially happy with the development. Obama reportedly looked at Cantor as an opportunist “devoid of any substance” who only wanted to antagonize the president. It was Cantor who led Republicans in 2008 to come up with a “strategy of no,” blocking Obama at every opportunity including initiatives that Republicans once supported.
Eric Cantor was unpopular even within his own constituents. A poll from his district in Virginia found that voters disapproved of his performance by a margin of 63-30.
Many of these constituents simply refused to show up for the election. Vox’s Ezra Klein noted:
Cantor’s loss last night came at the hands of about 5 percent of his constituents. It came at the hands of about 9 percent of the total number of people who voted in the district’s 2012 congressional election. It came at the hands of about 16 percent of the people who voted for Cantor in that election.
Still, despite his lack of friends in Washington, the loss was quite a shock for Eric Cantor. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight noted that he held a 13-point lead in polls, and had won past primaries by wide margins. Silver went so far as to say the loss “felt like an earthquake.”