How did Cantor actually lose?
Andrew Sullivan’s gloating readers are this morning offering some clues.
I live in the 7th District in Virginia, and I am a Democrat who voted for David Brat in the open primary. There has been a whisper campaign going on among the Democrats in the district for the last few weeks and it resulted in many Democrats coming out to vote for Brat. We felt especially encouraged after the 7th District committee nominated Jack Trammell to be the Democratic candidate for the seat last Sunday. We now feel we at least have a fair chance at winning it. (By the way, Jack Trammell is a professor at the same small college as Brat, Randolph-Macon.)
Hereâ€™s a theory to support your reader who, though a Democrat, voted for Brat: in 2012, roughly 47,000 people voted in the 7th District Republican primary. This time, roughly 65,000. Now letâ€™s assume that of those 18,000 new voters, 16,000 were Democrats voting to axe Cantor, then rework the numbers if they hadnâ€™t voted: Cantor would then have had around 29,000+ votes, and Brat would have had around 20,000+. Which would have worked out to approximately 59% for Cantor, which is where he was at in 2012 and much closer to his internal polling showing him with a lead of 34% among likely REPUBLICAN voters.
Iâ€™m thinking time will show that Democrats in his district were fed up with him, and decided to do something about it.
Cantor should just run, and win, as an independent in November, rather than giving up. What would a left-wing democrat (sandbagged in a primary by the opposition party) do?
And Virginia should get rid on non-party-registration and open primaries.
CORRECTION: Damn! Cantor actually cannot run as an independent. Commenter JKB points out that Virginia not only has open primaries, it has a “sore-loser” law preventing candidates defeated in a primary from entering the race as independents.
According to the Code of Virginia’s section on candidates and elections (24.2-520), candidates filing for a primary must sign a statement agreeing that if they lose, their names cannot be printed on ballots for the general election. Meaning, if a candidate in the Republican primary for the 5th District loses on June 8, he or she cannot run as a third-party candidate in November.
The deadline for filing as an independent, however, is June 8 at 7 p.m. – the same time the primary polls close.