Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Eric Cantor Defeated: Did Big Business Just Lose to the Little Guy?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Eric Cantor Defeated: Did Big Business Just Lose to the Little Guy?

Article excerpt

Rep. Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia wasn't the only Washington giant to suffer a blow Tuesday. So too did the financial industry, a major lobbying presence in D.C. whose top firms had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the House majority leader's primary campaign, only to see him fall to a candidate who views Big Finance with pointed suspicion.

To be sure, the challenger, economics professor David Brat, did not base his campaign solely - or even mainly - on financial issues. Rather, a belief that Mr. Cantor had gone soft on illegal immigration pushed some of the Republican base into Mr. Brat's column during the GOP primary, analysts say.

Yet, throughout the campaign, the tea party-supported underdog who raised $231,000 to Cantor's $5.7 million, also lambasted the incumbent for his close ties to big business and Wall Street, perhaps striking a chord with Republican voters who wanted the grassroots to exert more control over their party's agenda, and corporate interests to exert less.

Along these lines, the only national conservative figure who touted Brat before the election, radio host Laura Ingraham, credited the challenger's success to "fury at the GOP establishment" and Cantor's association with corporate executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In an interview with radio host Flint Engelman, Brat attacked Cantor for watering down the STOCK Act of 2012, which was designed to bolster insider-trading regulations and add transparency to the financial lobbying process.

According to Politico, Brat also went after Cantor for cozying up to the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce, and he once said financial "crooks" were in Cantor's Rolodex.

"All of the investment banks, up in New York and D.C., they should have gone to jail," he said to a tea party audience in Mechanicsville, Va., in May. …

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