Huffpost Politics

Eric Cantor Gets Primary Challenge From Economics Professor David Brat

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) during the media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Dec. 3, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) during the media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Dec. 3, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can add his name to the growing list of Republicans facing a primary challenge in 2014. David Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, will seek to unseat Cantor in Virginia's 7th District, National Review reported Tuesday.

Brat plans to formally announce his candidacy Thursday and is reportedly courting the endorsement of outside conservative groups. He also shares a professional relationship with John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T Bank who now heads the libertarian CATO Institute.

"I want to be Eric Cantor's term limit," Brat told National Review. His criticisms targeted Cantor for, among other things, the majority leader's support for the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget deal, his position on immigration reform, and failing to stop the implementation of Obamacare.

Brat is perhaps the most formidable Republican opponent Cantor has faced since he was elected to Congress in 2000. But despite Brat's potential to garner endorsements from outside groups that have repeatedly attacked House GOP leadership, he will face an uphill battle in order to defeat Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House. In 2012, Cantor won the GOP primary with nearly 80 percent of the vote.

Repeating a comment he had given earlier to National Review, Rory Cooper, a spokesman for Cantor, told HuffPost, "Congressman Cantor is proud to serve the people of the Seventh District and hopes to earn their trust again so he can continue creating jobs and opportunity for hard-working Virginia families and defending conservative values."

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