Cantor outraised his opponent $5,447,290 to $206,663. The congressman reported spending more at steakhouses than Brant spent on his campaign.
An internal poll had shown Cantor with a 62-28 lead in late May. Just eight days before the election Cantor's lead had shrunk to 52-40.
It appears that Cantor's mixed support for immigration reform, labeled as "amnesty" by opponents, played a role in his defeat. But that may be overblown. On the same day that Cantor was losing, another immigration reform supporter, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) was cruising to re-election. Further, Cantor support by immigration reform group was tepid at best. The on-line political publication The Daily Beast reports:
The pro-immigration reform group America's Voice went out of its way to distance itself from Cantor. Frank Sperry, the group's executive director said," Let’s be clear: Eric Cantor was no friend of immigration reform. He’s been the main person in the House blocking a vote on citizenship, and he proudly campaigned on his opposition to reform . . .Cantor has always seemed more interested in his own rise to House speaker than in tending to his district. It appears the primary voters decided he was out of touch.The Daily Beast reports on one eyewitnesses opinion on what lead to Cantor's stunning loss:
One Virginia Republican familiar with the race suggested that Cantor's loss was due to "a perfect storm" brought about by the fact that Cantor seemed to be schooled in "the George Armstrong Custer school of tactics as opposed to Sung Tzu school." The Republican suggested that while immigration was a factor, the bigger issues were internal party politics. As opposed to other Virginia Republicans in Congress, Cantor didn't show the most basic respect to Tea Partiers in his district. It wasn't about Cantor's votes but rather that he didn't even show up to explain himself and get yelled at. If the Majority Leader, who was the only Jewish Republican on Capitol Hill, had paid more attention to the words of Woody Allen, who said "80 percent of life is showing up," he would be in much better political shape.It appears that Cantor simply had a tin ear for the increasing populism within the Republican Party. Simply catering to corporate America and getting a 100% rating from the Chamber of Commerce is not enough to ensure a Republican nomination anymore. You have to actually listen to working men and women in your district. And that's a good thing.