Cantor’s Self-Serving Special Election Scheme

cantor By Peter Galuszka

It looks like a small group of the Virginia Republicans elite has once again hatched a plot behind closed doors to manipulate elected politics without input from voters.

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the victim of a surprising defeat in a June 10 Republican primary, has come up with a self-serving scheme to resign Aug.18 and finagle a special election Nov. 4 to pick his successor. The special election would be held along with a regularly scheduled one.

Normally, opposing candidates Republican David Brat and Democrat Jack Trammel, would routinely face election that day. With Cantor’s proposal, the winner of the special election for the 7th Congressional District seat would be able to take office immediately, instead of having to wait for usual matriculation of the other 434 Congressmen in January.

This is a back-door, move-to-the-head-of-the-class scheme. Presumably, the winner would be Brat who, taking office in November, would be placed ahead of other Congressional newcomers when it comes to coveted committee assignments. Good for the GOP. Bad for Democrats.

For Cantor, of course, it is a Big Win. Since his unexpected and earth-shaking defeat, the 51-year-old has been seen at such posh places as the Hampton is on the tip of Long Island schmoozing with Big Money. Cantor does have an advanced degree from Columbia in real estate finance and his wife was once a New York securities trader. Big Finance, along with Big Pharma and Big Managed Care, has been one of his biggest sources of election funds.

Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political expert, by turns thought Cantor’s idea “generous” but also noted ”it’s highly probable that he has a deal in the works for his post-Congress life, and he’s eager to get it started,” Sabato was quoted as saying.

As might have been expected, Cantor made his announcement in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, his lapdog newspaper. Editors gushed that his announcement “features an extraordinary column by an extraordinary human being.”

It shows extraordinary cluelessness as well. Cantor, the Main Street Republicans and the TD’s club of Richmond elites don’t seem to understand that it is their very exclusivity that helped do Cantor in and give an upstart like Brat the edge.

Consider a cover story package that I co-wrote in the Chesterfield Monthly, one of the Richmond area’s up-and-coming publications. I found that it wasn’t just that Cantor ignored his district that did him in – it was a putsch by some rather annoyed Libertarians of the traditional ilk and small government moderates plus the Tea Party.

Leaders of the “malcontents” were lawyer Patrick McSweeney and Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2012. In the “Bull Elephant” blog, Radtke compared Cantor and his Confederates as “mobsters” running around and snuffing out dissent among local conservatives.

Brat himself was ultra pissed off a couple of years back when he wanted to get the Henrico County GOP nod to run and replace Bill Janis. But, functioning as the old Soviet Politburo might have, a tiny group of Republican elders decided that the candidate would be Peter Farrell, the young son of utility powerhouse chieftain Tom Farrell of Dominion. In other words, it wasn’t exactly a day for waving the stars and stripes of Democracy. It was pure, Big League, Big Business inside diktat that could have taken place behind the crenelated walls of the Kremlin.

They didn’t give Brat a chance,”analyst Bob Holsworth told me. “That gave Brat the interest in taking on this Don Quixote-type campaign.

Now we get another closed-door deal. Hopefully, voters, conservative and liberal, will fire back.

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4 responses to “Cantor’s Self-Serving Special Election Scheme

  1. All things equal and they never are – it makes sense for Cantor to go quickly though his likely replacement will just add to the supply of wacko-birds now roosting in the House – crapping up the place with one bill after another than is going to go nowhere… even if the GOP gets the Senate.

    The country is pretty much divided down the middle more or less on many issues and governance requires middle ground compromise but when the GOP itself is divided – who knows how anything is going to get done.

    Right now, we have thousands of kids who have come across the border and need basic housing and food – and what did the current House do? Well.. after a stupendous effort at some level of unity – they passed a bill with so many poison pills in it that they knew it was as useless as their 56 repeal votes of health care.

    so where will the money come from to pay for the food and housing for these kids who are here? Well.. the House had an answer for that also. A week after suing the POTUS for doing what he thought needed to be done – that’s exactly what they told him to do with this issue – “you go figure out what to do – and, oh by the way – we’ll probably add whatever you decided to the same lawsuit when we get back”.

    In this kind of environment – Cantor was about as useless as a nose growing on his butt… and he knew it – and I suspect – was/is HAPPY to depart the madhouse that is called the House of Representatives.

    As long as we elect people who think the earth is 6000 years old and oppose same-sex marriage and don’t have a clue what to do about immigration or health care – we’re going to remain in purgatory no matter who the POTUS is – unless of course – it’s Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul!

    Do you know how we obtained the Louisiana Purchase when there is no provision for buying territories in the Constitution? Thomas Jefferson – yes, THAT TJ decided he would buy it anyhow when Congress objected.

    I find this totally ironic in that TJ is a current right-wing hero for all of his flowery speech about “liberty” and related – who “violated” the Constitution to – lead – when leadership was needed. It’s a wonder he was not “sued” or “impeached”, eh?

  2. The games never end in Virginia. Apparently, the concepts of “honor” and “fairness” never enter the political discourse in Richmond. David Brat could change that by refusing committee appointments based on his ill gotten tenure. That would certainly be a refreshing change of pace for Virginia’s Republicans.

  3. Pingback: At Week’s End: August 2, 2014 » The Write Side of My Brain

  4. There is another train of thought out there.
    By resigning and asking the GOV to have a special election, they make it harder for the third candidate. They all need to re-qualify for the special, and that’s no problem for the elephants or donkeys. But anyone else…it’s a PITA.
    Brat was on the radio this morning discussing a possible special election BEFORE November.

    Anyhoo…that won’t happen, and we will have our 7th CD Candidates Forum in October. I am hoping to see all of you there. We also invited the Senate candidates as guest panelists. Have confirmation from one already.

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