RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — In an upset for the ages, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-most powerful man in the House, was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger who rolled to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.
""This is a miracle from God that just happened," exulted David Brat, a political science professor as his victory became clear in the congressional district around Richmond.
Speaking to downcast supporters, Cantor conceded, "Obviously we came up short."
The victory was by far the biggest of the 2014 campaign season for tea party forces, although they forced veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran into a June 24 runoff and hope State Sen. Chris McDaniel can prevail then.
Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to primary challengers. MORE