(AP) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated Tuesday by a little-known economics professor in Virginia's Republican primary, a stunning upset and major victory for the tea party.
Cantor says his supporters should continue to fight for the conservative values he championed in Congress despite his defeat at the hands of a little-known tea party candidate.
He told glum supporters Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia, that "obviously, we came up short." He said it was the highest honor of his life serving as House majority leader. The congressman was defeated by economics professor Dave Brat. He conceded to Brat with his wife at his side at a suburban Richmond hotel, offering only brief remarks. He refused to take questions from reporters and drove away in a black SUV.
Jay S. Poole, a Cantor volunteer, says Brat tapped into widespread frustration among voters about the gridlock in Washington and issues such as immigration reform.
Cantor is the second-most powerful member of the U.S. House and was seen by some as a possible successor to the House speaker.
His loss to Dave Brat, a political novice with little money marks a huge victory for the tea party movement, which supported Cantor just a few years ago.
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