YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — House Republicans have begun jockeying for leadership positions after Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary defeat in Virginia on Tuesday by Tea-party backed newcomer David Brat.
It is the first time a majority leader was voted out of office since the 1800’s.
Youngstown State University political science chair Paul Sracic said the political upset is proof that voters are restless and want more from their representatives. He also said that this a wake up call for Democrats, too.
“Angry voters are showing up in the primaries, probably showing up in November. And those voters are angry with Democrats, angry with President Obama. You could also read this as Democrats better start worrying about November,” Sracic said.
Mahoning County Republican Party Vice Chair Tracey Winbush said the defeat is shocking but the message is clear: Voters want to be heard. Winbush said that House seats are not guaranteed even if someone is the majority leader. She said voters were looking for someone focused on them and chose Brat.
“You can’t take your focus off your constituents. When you take your focus off your constituents, you lose the big picture. I think he majored in the minors and minored in the majors,” Winbush said of Cantor.
Cantor announced Wednesday afternoon that he will quit his leadership post this summer. Officials said Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas are both signaling that they are vying for the post.