House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered the most stunning defeat in a generation Tuesday night, at the hands of an underfunded challenger who he outspent by more than 25-to-1.
How big was the spending disparity between the two candidates? Cantor’s campaign spent more at steakhouses than his challenger, economics professor Dave Brat, spent on his entire campaign, a mind-blogging stat that was first noted by the New York Times.
The Cantor campaign’s expenditures, as recorded by the Center for Responsive Politics, show it spent $US168,637 at Bobby Van’s and BLT Steak as of May 21. Brat’s campaign spent just $US122,793 overall through that date.
Cantor’s loss sent shockwaves through the political world, as it defied much political convention — incumbents typically have a big edge toward getting re-elected, especially for someone with as high a standing as Cantor. There was no polling to suggest Cantor was in trouble. But to guard against even a close outcome, Cantor’s campaign spent enormously.
“There is a lot of bad blood with conservatives who feel like he has repeatedly made them promises and betrayed them; constituent services that were run for Washington lobbyists, not actual citizens of the district; a very heavy handed staff that was hard for constituents to deal with and for conservatives to reason with; and he took his eye off the prize,” Erick Erickson, the editor in chief of the conservative website RedState, told Business Insider in an email Tuesday night.
“He was looking at the Speaker’s chair, not his own.”
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