Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Cantor Loses Primary: Hotline's Wake-Up Call! - Brought to you by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Cantor Loses Primary: Hotline's Wake-Up Call! - Brought to you by the ...

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Cantor Loses Primary: Hotline's Wake-Up Call! - Brought to you by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation

Wake-Up Call! is Hotline's daily morning briefing on campaigns and elections. Click here to subscribe.


  • In VA-07, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) lost his primary Tuesday to Randolph-Macon College professor Dave Brat (R), "a political unknown who focused his campaign on Cantor's support for a path to citizenship for the children of immigrants" and beat Cantor 56%-44%. (National Journal)
  • "There were menacing signs for" Cantor, though few "paid them any mind." First, "tea partiers and libertarians ... blocked his forces from using a practice known as 'slating' to take control of the county delegation to the party's 7th District convention" in March. "Then, in May, ... the same coalition of grass-roots insurrectionists voted out Cantor's handpicked district chairman." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
  • House conservatives, "suddenly smelling blood in the water, might now be emboldened to push for a wholesale change in leadership – ousting" Speaker John Boehner (R) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R) "in this November's conference elections, and entering the next Congress with a new top three." Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Tom Price (R-GA), and Paul Ryan (R-WI) are among those "worth watching." (National Journal)
  • "Other names being floated" with McCarthy's as potential majority leaders include Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). (Washington Post)
  • Cantor "spent Tuesday morning at a monthly meeting with large donors and lobbyists at a Capitol Hill Starbucks, helping raise money for a three junior lawmakers. Cantor assured the group that he had spent heavily on his race ... to ensure victory by a large margin and to show no 'sign of weakness,' according to one attendee." (Washington Post)
  • A tale of two dinners: Leaders from the Tea Party Patriots, Family Research Council, Heritage Action, Club for Growth, and Citizens United interrupted dinner at ForAmerica chairman Brent Bozell's home to track and celebrate Brat's victory. (Wall Street Journal) Meanwhile, across the Potomac, "an informal dinner party at" House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D) place also "turned into a celebration." (New York Times)
  • "Eric Cantor Lost Even As the National Tea Party Groups Sat on Their Hands" (National Journal)
  • "They gave me $1 million in name ID and I think that got us going, I think." -- Brat, speaking about Cantor's heavy negative advertising against him. (Politico)

  • In SC SEN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) won his primary outright, avoiding a runoff, with about 56% of the vote against six challengers. (Columbia State)
  • In ME-02, left open by Rep. Mike Michaud's (D) GOV run, state Sen. Emily Cain (D) easiliy won the Democratic nomination over state Sen. Troy Jackson (D) and former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin (R) took the GOP nomination over two-time candidate Kevin Raye (R). (Portland Press-Herald)
  • In VA-08, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer (D) won the Democratic nomination with nearly half the vote, "marking a political rebirth" for the auto dealer in a safely Democratic district over six other contenders. (InsideNoVa)
  • In MS SEN, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) launched his first TV ad of the runoff, in which a narrator tells voters "we're not done" and reminds them to vote June 24. (release) Meanwhile, Sen. Thad Cochran (R) "went on the offensive" after "months of milquetoast statements," saying McDaniel is "'an extremist' who would hurt Mississippi." (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
  • In NC SEN, Generation Opportunity, a youth-focused nonprofit connected to the Koch brothers, launched its first-ever TV ad against Sen. Kay Hagan (D), in which a young woman tells Hagan to "stop spending our generation's future." The ad is backed by over $700,000 on North Carolina TV, plus a digital component. (release)
  • In IA SEN and NH SEN, Americans for Prosperity launched new TV ads hitting Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). The Shaheen ad continues the group's main focus on health care, but the anti-Braley spot hits him on the Keystone pipeline, working in the infamous video of Braley calling Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school." AFP said it is spending over $1 million on the ads. (Hotline reporting)


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day


• Polling may be on the side of the pro-immigration reform crowd. But no matter how much immigration did or did not have to do with Cantor's defeat -- and there is no definitive evidence anyone can offer -- his loss certainly won't galvanize a House Republican majority that has already eyed immigration warily for almost two years. -- Scott Bland

• Cantor could still potentially run as a write-in candidate, which might give Democrats an opportunity in the deep red district should there be a big conservative vote split in the fall. Barring that, get ready to start saying "Congressman Brat." Will he get a primary challenge in 2016? -- Jack Fitzpatrick

• Graham's 56% was low for an incumbent, and he would have been more seriously threatened if he faced one opponent instead of six. Immigration reform advocates are citing him as proof that support isn't suicidal in a Republican primary, but there was a lot more going on in South Carolina, including Graham's attention to detail in both constituent services and campaigns. -- Josh Kraushaar

• Brian Sandoval emerged victorious from Tuesday's Nevada primaries in more ways than one. The Republican governor faced little opposition himself, but at least five candidates he endorsed, including Mark Hutchinson in the lieutenant governor's race, won their GOP primaries over challengers supported by the official Nevada Republican Party, which is still under the control of Ron Paul 2012 supporters. -- Karyn Bruggeman

• Two new outside ads in North Carolina reiterate who both sides think will determine that Senate election: women. Democrats believe they have the advantage, targeting Thom Tillis on his decisions he made regarding abortion in the state House, but Republicans also see an opportunity with this voter group if they can tie Hagan to a poor job market. -- Andrea Drusch


    "Mayor in tiff over tossed bag of dog waste" (AP)


  • "Eric Cantor's Pollster Tries to Explain Why His Survey Showed Cantor Up 34 Points" (National Journal)
  • Zachary Werrell, Brat's campaign manager, "turned 23 last month, interviewed for the gig at a Panera restaurant and has been sleeping on the couch of his mentor." (Washington Examiner)
  • "Graham's victory" in South Carolina was "aided by assiduous attention to constituent service, paying favors to his South Carolina Republican colleagues, an early and relentless focus on fundraising, and a hawkish record on foreign policy that conservatives in the military-rich state rallied behind." (National Journal)
  • The ballot option "None of these candidates" finished with more votes for Nevada's Democratic gubernatorial nomination than nominee Robert Goodman (D). The none of the above option got 30% to Goodman's 25%. (AP)
  • President Obama "will return to Silicon Valley for a July 23 fundraiser" for the DCCC "at the Los Altos Hills home of real estate developer" George Marcus, where tickets "start at $10,000 per person." (Bay Area News Group)
  • "There's only one thing [Terry] Branstad and Jack Hatch have in common, and for Jack, that's one thing too many." -- The narrator in Iowa GOV nominee Hatch's (D) first TV commercial, in which Hatch shaves his mustache. "An aide to Hatch said he's worn a mustache for most of the last 46 years." (Des Moines Register)
  • "A California judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprived students of their right to an education under the State Constitution and violated their civil rights," handing "teachers' unions a major defeat in a landmark case" that could prompt legal action in other states. (New York Times)
  • Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R) asked Sen. Mark Begich (D) "to sign a pledge stopping third-party groups from airing TV ads in Alaska" Tuesday. (National Journal)
  • A medical marijuana initiative in Florida is attracting big donors: Casino owner Sheldon Adelson sent $2.5 million "to the campaign committee opposing Amendment 2," while trial lawyer John Morgan "has financed much of the proponent's $3.1 million campaign." (Miami Herald)


How Hillary Clinton's Memoir Ends



  • The Senate returns at 9:15 a.m. The House returns at 10 a.m.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the Bowe Berghdal-Taliban prisoner swap (Rayburn HOB-2118, 10 a.m.).
  • Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, and Al Franken hold a news conference on student loan refinancing (11 a.m.).
  • Film director M. Night Shyamalan speaks about closing America's education achievement gap (National Press Club, 12:30 p.m.).
  • The Nationals play the Giants at San Francisco (MASN2 and CSBy, 10:15 p.m. EDT)
  • Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!


  • John Quincy Adams was the only president to later serve in the House, and Andrew Johnson was the only one to later serve as a senator.
  • The winner is Samuel Tobin, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who were the two vice presidents who each occupied the office under two different presidents?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"Obviously, we came up short." -- Cantor, in a concession speech (National Journal)


"Juuust a bit outside." -- "Harry Doyle" in "Major League"

Scott Bland, Editor-in-Chief

Alex Roarty, Chief Political Correspondent


Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Sign up form for the newsletter