There is a schadenfreudalicious article in this morning's Washington Post summarizing Eric Cantor's escalating fight with the Tea Party in his deeply Republican district in Virginia.
The piece notes the growing strength and name-rec of Cantor's aptly-named primary opponent David Brat, and retells the uber-awkward meeting at a Richmond hotel when Cantor acolyte Linwood Cobb was booted out as party district chairman in favor of Teep fave Fred Gruber, an action accompanied by boos and catcalls for Cantor himself.
The article's authors, Jenna Portnoy and Robert Costa, set Cantor's woes in the larger context of the ongoing Establishment/Teep struggle for control of the GOP, especially in Virginia:
But the prospect of a competitive and bruising challenge to the second-ranking Republican in Congress is embarrassing to Cantor — and is rattling GOP leaders at a time when the party is trying to unify its divided ranks.Yes! Oh, yes! Oh, god, right there! Chaos! Mayhem! Confusion to my enemies! What an upper this read is!
“The conservatives are becoming more vocal,” said Thomas J. Bliley Jr., Cantor’s political mentor and predecessor in the House. “Once I was elected back in 1980, I didn’t have a primary fight for the 20 years I was there, and this is the first time Eric has had a serious or semi-serious primary opponent. You have people who are frankly disgusted with Washington, and he is a visible symbol.”
Until the closing graf:
“This is still the most Republican district in the state, from the west end of Richmond to Culpeper,” Bliley said, “and once he gets through this, the Democrats don’t have a candidate — no one filed.”There are many good reasons for perusing a 50-state strategy (or, as it was originally known, a Project 90), chief among which is the fact that every dollar a 'Pub has to spend fighting a Dem challenger s/he can't PAC out to other candidates.
(emphasis added, bitterly)
Oh, there's always the serendipity factor, like an unexpected primary challenge to the second-most powerful 'Pub in the House --like that would happen-- or the predictably unpredictable shifts in voter attitudes, turnout factors and motivating issues-of-the-moment.
But the bottom line is, as always, the bottom line. Cantor's got two mil in the campaign bank. Brat's got forty thousand. Cantor might have a bit of an intra-party scuffle on his hands, but he's going to win his primary with oodles of cash left over.
And, as he hungers for the speaker's gavel like a dog for a leg of lamb, he's going to use it to help his partisans win more competitive races. Which he can. Because his won't be competitive at all.
Because no one filed.