No Democratic Opponent For Eric Cantor?


    This would be a big mistake.

    As the Republican whip in the House of Representatives, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, has emerged as one of the leading critics of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

    But as he seeks re-election to a sixth term in Congress, Cantor may be unopposed by a Democrat.

    I mean, obviously it would be extremely difficult for a Democrat to defeat the well-funded Cantor in the Republican-leaning 7th CD.  I also understand the argument that having a Democrat run against the House Minority Whip could actually help crank up Cantor’s fundraising.  

    Still, I believe it’s important that Democrats have a serious candidate against Cantor. The first reason is that, as a general principle, I believe Democrats should have someone making the case for our values (and against theirs) in as many districts as possible. Second, I believe that having a serious candidate against Cantor will put pressure on him to answer questions about his unproductive, negative “leadership” style, as well as to explain his votes against economic recovery and his constant talking down of the U.S. economy. Finally, a serious, well-funded Democratic candidate could force Cantor to spend his money close to home, instead of using it to help fellow Republicans.  This could make a difference in potentially close races, like Virginia’s 5th CD.

    Democrats have until May 14 to come up with a candidate, and 7th CD Democratic chairwoman Abbi Easter “said the party is talking to several potential candidates.” Let’s hope that one of them throws his or her hat in the ring.

    • Teddy Goodson

      in every District. Good grief, we need to do so—- simply, as you point out, for the messaging value, which is something Democrats do poorly anyway. I suppose the state party does not want to waste precious resources against Cantor when there are so many endangered Democrats needing help in a tough year (which is partly so tough for Democrats because they did such a lousy job of messaging in 2009).

      Then there is the problem of finding a Democrat willing to run against Cantor. I will bet that most men are not willing to put themselves in such a position (who ran against him last time, by the way?). Therefore, maybe the Party should throw a woman to the wolves, as is their wont in situations like this. A feisty female might surprise the conventional wisdom. Anyone come to mind?

    • Glen Tomkins

      … is to win the seat.  It’s hard to beat something with nothing.

      The less important possibility, but still important enough to run somebody in this district, is what you might call the stock car race rationale.  A lot of people go to those races half-hoping to see someone crash and burn.  If he has imitated what we have seen in too many of his peers — the reckless personal behavior that political power seems to breed — we want a Demnocrat poised to pick up the pieces.

      But I wouldn’t count out the 7th as potentially winnable even barring any sort of personal flame-out by the incumbent.  Maybe, some day before all of us are dead and gone, we will see an election cycle in which incumbents don’t enjoy better job security than Politburo members, in which the voters don’t let candidates slide on incumbency, constituent service and large TV ad buys, and actually vote for or against candidates based on what they voted for or against.  I see no reason that 2010 could not be that year.  And if it is, I would not rate Cantor’s chances at all highly.  He voted against universal health care.  He voted against doing anything at all about rising health inusrance premiums.  I wouldn’t want to run on that record.  If Cantor actually has to run on his record this year, the seat is quite winnable for our side.