WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) –In the end, it was immigration that brought Eric Cantor down. And in the moments following the House majority leader’s stunned concession speech Tuesday night, immigration dealt Cantor one last parting blow.
Cantor spoke about four minutes after learning he had been defeated by tea partier Dave Brat in the race for the Virginia 7th District.As Cantor left the Richmond hotel where his supporters, who had come expecting a party, stood stunned, immigration activists pushed their way into the ballroom to rub salt in the wound.
“What do we want? Immigration reform!” the shouted, waving an American flag. “When do we want it? Now!”
The Cantor supporters tried to block the activists from entering the room, with one woman tossing his glass of wine at a protestor.As the protesters made their way to the microphone, a hotel employee told them police were on the way.
When the cops arrived, they warned the protesters they’d be arrested if they didn’t leave. Then, as the protesters filed out, someone in the parking lot yelled “Get a job!” to an immigration activist wrapped in a flag.
Cantor’s loss also makes it even more unlikely that immigration reform will pass in the House this term, as his position on the issue is seen as the likely reason for his loss, despite his efforts to position himself as a far-right conservative deeply opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
Some rank-and-file House Republicans had indicated their willingness to vote for the bill that passed the Senate last year, but with Cantor’s loss, that tenuous support will likely evaporate.
Brat was able to successfully position Cantor as pro-amnesty, even as Cantor was blamed by Democrats as the primary obstacle to the passage of immigration in the House.