June 11th, 2014
05:46 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for June 11, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 11, 2014 | 5 p.m.
—  n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

CANTOR: THE DAY AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: The day after his stunning primary loss to political novice Dave Brat, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters on Capitol Hill that he will not try for another term in the House, and that he will resign his leadership post on July 31. “While I may have suffered a personal setback last night, I couldn't be more optimistic about the future of this country," Cantor insisted.


HILL RATTLED: In a year when mainstream Republicans have mostly bested tea party-backed challengers, a little-known and little-funded tea party challenger in Virginia's 7th Congressional District pulled the upset of the year, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by 10 percentage points. The victory by economics professor Dave Brat gives the tea party an instant jolt of energy, sends shock waves through Capitol Hill, shakes up the GOP House hierarchy - as Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker - and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform passing through the House any time soon. - Paul Steinhauser and Deirdre Walsh

AUTOPSY: HOW DID HE LOSE? CNN ‘Inside Politics’ host John King’s take: "Eric Cantor lost this race as much as Dave Brat won it. Two years ago, Eric Cantor got 37,000 votes in his primary. Nine thousand fewer votes this time. He simply violated rule number one of politics: Go home ... This is Eric Cantor's fault. He was in Washington on primary day, not back in his district ... His confidence, his arrogance, his smugness cost him his seat.”

Cantor to CNN’s Dana Bash on his defeat: “We did everything we could. I'm very proud of my team on the ground in Richmond for all they did. There was a tremendous outpouring of support on all sides. … I came up short and the voters elected another candidate.”

Cantor to CNN’s Deirdre Walsh on tea party activists: “I would say about the Tea Party, remember what the acronym means: Taxed Enough Already. All of us conservatives and Republicans believe in that. … What we have in common as Republicans is a tremendous amount of commitment to a better and smaller government and greater opportunity and growth for everybody.”

WHO’S THE NEXT MAJORITY LEADER? Cantor’s loss will create a major House GOP leadership shakeup. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions has already made it clear he’s planning to run for Cantor’s job. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, now number three in the chamber, is also considered likely to throw his hat in the ring. Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling says he knows people want him to run and is “prayerfully considering” a bid.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers quickly took herself out of the running on Wednesday, declaring in a statement that after “much encouragement from my colleagues, conversations with my family, and many prayers, I have decided to remain Conference Chair at this time.”

House Republicans will hold leadership elections on June 19, GOP sources tell CNN’s Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh.

And who does Cantor want as the next Majority Leader? Kevin McCarthy, Cantor told reporters Wednesday, "would make an outstanding majority leader and I will be backing him with my full support."

Overshadowed last night ... Lindsey Graham defeats conservative challengers, avoids runoff

HAGEL DEFENDS BERGDAHL DEAL, ACKNOWLEDGES BROKEN TRUST... Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifying at a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, defended the deal that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Hagel insisted the administration did what was best for the country, the military and Bergdahl while complying with the law. But he conceded the administration should have tried harder to keep Congress informed about what he called rapidly moving developments, saying he understood the frustration caused by the speed of the mission. "I know that trust has been broken,” Hagel said. – Ed Payne and Tom Cohen

See more: Bergdahl told fellow soldiers he wanted to be an assassin. Was he serious? – Jake Tapper

THE BUZZ: BATTLE OF RANDOLPH MACON BEGINS ... Both VA-07 candidates vying for Cantor’s seat, David Brat (R) and Jack Trammell (D), are professors at Randolph Macon University, a small liberal arts school outside Richmond with just over 1,000 students. Brat teaches economics and ethics while Trammell teaches disability studies. Both are directors of their respective departments.

As a CBS affiliate in Richmond notes, if students alone decided the race, they’d likely elect Trammel, who has a higher rating on Rate My Professor than Brat does. Unfortunately for Trammel, most of VA-07 is far more conservative than a typical college campus.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks step back from record highs. Dow sheds 99 points. S&P 500 dips 0.3% and the NASDAQ edges lower.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer Below)
How many sitting House Majority Leaders have lost their primary contests since the position was created in 1899?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Congressmen charge VA told local VA hospital to stymie their search for information
Two Pennsylvania congressmen, one Democrat and one Republican, charge that officials within the national Department of Veterans Affairs tried to stall, if not block, their attempts to find out about hundreds of veterans on wait lists for years, waiting for health care appointments at the Pittsburgh VA. If the charges are true, the VA officials responsible should be terminated, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, told CNN. – Jake Tapper

Leading CNNMoney:10 fastest growing states
North Dakota is the fastest growing state for 5 years in a row thanks to the oil boom ... Revenue from the oil companies have also allowed the state to lower the income tax, further attracting workers ... All told, North Dakota's economy has doubled in just 11 years, but it still remains the fifth smallest state economy in the country.

Leading Drudge: Iraq In Spiral
Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of NATO to discuss the security situation in Iraq after militants took 80 Turkish citizens hostage during a lightning advance, a Turkish foreign ministry official said.

Leading HuffPo: Blocked
The Senate on Wednesday declined to approve a measure that would have enabled millions of Americans with expensive student loans to refinance into cheaper debt. The 56-38 vote on the refinancing proposal, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), failed to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Warren’s proposal, which mostly targeted student loans owned or guaranteed by the Department of Education, sought to fund the reduction in borrowers’ student loan payments by increasing taxes on wealthy households.- Shahien Nasiripour

Leading Politico: For Jewish Republicans: Oy vey
The dream of a Jewish Republican speaker of the House is no more ... Now, with Cantor’s defeat, there’s no longer a point man to help organize trips to Israel for junior GOP lawmakers, as Cantor routinely did. Jewish nonprofits and advocacy groups have no other natural person in leadership to look to for a sympathetic ear. No other Republican lawmaker can claim to have precisely the same relationship with gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a primary benefactor of both the Republican Party and the Republican Jewish Coalition. – Alexander Burns

Leading New York Times: F.B.I. Has Begun Criminal Inquiry in V.A. Scandal
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into accusations that Department of Veterans Affairs officials manipulated medical waiting lists and delayed care for thousands of veterans, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Wednesday. – Matt Apuzzo

Leading Washington Post: Eric Cantor and the biggest upsets in political history
As Tuesday night showed, from time to time, you really just didn't see that one coming. Here are some other examples of shocking upsets ... Regina Seltzer, Jesse Ventura, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, George Nethercutt, Harris Wofford, Scott Brown, Melissa Bean, Joe Biden – Aaron Blake

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Brat: This is no time to talk policy –
VA-7 GOP NOMINEE/POLITICAL GIANT SLAYER DAVID BRAT ON MSNBC: “I love all the policy questions. I'm happy to do more, but I just wanted to talk about the victory ahead and I wanted to thank everybody that worked so hard on my campaign.”

– Smerconish: Talk radio played ‘significant role’ in Cantor loss –
CNN HOST MICHAEL SMERCONISH TO WOLF BLITZER: “I think it (talk radio) played a significant role. I came of age politically … in an era when getting out the vote on primary day meant you went door-to-door with a street list under the direction of a committee person or a ward leader and you asked people to go out and cast a ballot. That function has been completely supplanted by the world of talk radio and on the right by Fox. That is the GOP apparatus now. When you have the likes of Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham, who are banging the drum day in and day out for the opponent of the Eric Cantor, it matters.”

– Terry: Cantor loss sends ‘shivers’ down GOP spines –
REP. LEE TERRY, R-NEBRASKA, TO CNN’S DANA BASH: “It's just stunning that this happened, and secondly, it's just sending shivers throughout the Republican Conference. We're trying to analyze what really happened here … Eric is the number two guy for the establishment, and this is very much a non-establishment year. If you're in Congress, people are angry at you.”

– Rush: Cantor defeat is a bigger than Cantor and immigration reform –
RUSH LIMABAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “This is all bigger than Cantor, and it's bigger than one issue, immigration reform. This disconnect is major and it is growing ... This is not insignificant. And David Brat is not a wacko. He's not a kook. He's an economics professor. He's an economist. He's an American. He's a real guy.”

– Hillary: Brat’s wrong on immigration –
HILLARY CLINTON AT A BOOK TOUR EVENT IN CHICAGO: "We just saw this race in Virginia where Eric Cantor, the second ranking Republican in the House, was defeated by a candidate who basically ran against immigrants. (Brat’s) argument was this: there are Americans out of work, so why should we allow immigrants into our country to take those jobs? I think that is a fair question, but the answer is no (when it comes to throwing) out of work and (deporting) the 11 million immigrants who are contributing already to our economy. The answer is to grow our economy, to create more jobs."

– Rand Paul: GOP trapped by 'amnesty'–
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, ON A CONFERENCE CALL WITH REPORTERS: “We've been somewhat trapped by rhetoric and words, and amnesty's a word that has kind of trapped us ... We're trapped in a word that means different things to different people.”

– Speier to GOP: What if Bergdahl was your son? –
REP. JACKIE SPEIER, D-CALIFORNIA, TO REPUBLICANS ON THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: “I would just ask us to think for a moment how we would be responding if Bowe Bergdahl was our son. I really fear for his return to this country with the kind of rhetoric that is being spewed in this very room.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

GOP Establishment (@EstablishmentDC)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Michelle Jaconi (@mjaconiCNN)
.@costareports : While the polls opened in his district, Cantor "spent the morning at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill" with lobbyists

Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44)
Cantor's problem wasn't his position on immigration reform, it was his lack of a position. Graham wrote and passed a bill and is winning big

Ted Nesi (‏@tednesi)
Cantor’s pollster McLaughlin said he had 34-pt lead; same firm told RI’s Hinckley he was gaining on Whitehouse in ‘12 http://bit.ly/1qqJ8OP

Emily Cahn ‏(@CahnEmily)
“[You] don’t need to blacklist them. They’ve backlisted themselves" 1 Sr GOP strategist said of Cantor's polling firm http://bit.ly/1l9wYVo

Ben Soskin (‏@BenSoskin)
Best I can tell, the last time there were no Jewish Republicans in Congress was at the start of 1957. Sen. Javits (NY) began service Jan 9.

Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy)
Think we all owe Dave Brat a debt of gratitude for prematurely ending the Hillary book tour news cycle.

Dan Merica ‏(@danmericaCNN)
Clinton says economic debate should be over: "Trickle down economics does not work, Bill Clinton proved that."

David Gergen ‏(@David_Gergen)
WH wd have been wise to make Sec Hagel #1 point man on Bergdahl from get-go. More balanced arguments, no talk of a hero. #CNN

Stephen Hayes (‏@stephenfhayes)
Wow. Forbes: "Would we put American lives at risk" to go after freed Taliban who reengage? Hagel, after stuttering several times: "Yes."

National Journal (@nationaljournal)
Eric Cantor and Tweetdeck are both down And Washington is panicking http://bit.ly/1n6pgOA

Vaughn Sterling ‏(@vplus)
CNN: Meet the guy who just broke TweetDeck http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/11/tec

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

Eric Cantor is the first sitting House majority leader to lose a primary since the position was created in 1899.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(Why aren’t you in it?)

Congrats to Jessica Niestzche ‏(@jneetch) and Steve Liguori (‏@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    -well, VA just go for democratic. Get rid off all these republicans for this nation sake. God bless!!!

    June 11, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    His,loss has nothing to do with immigration reform or shutting down the government and then maybe it does. Who cares really . He's a bad politician and a weasel of a man and it all caught up with him.
    They sided with the teaklans and the koch brothers to stir the pot and didn't want to play nice with the president and now he's paying the price.
    McConnell might have his primary but watch out! He's another slimeball. Now they have the teaklans clamor in to be the majority leader. Should be interesting.

    June 11, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Cantor said... “While I may have suffered a personal setback last night, I couldn't be more optimistic about the future of this country,"

    Hey Junior, for the last 6 years you have been telling us the country was in dire shape under Obama. You OBSTRUCTED any good plan this president offered. Now you say you are optimistic? You should be. You are GONE and McConnell will follow you out the door. GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!

    June 11, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |