“This is a miracle from God that just happened.” – David Brat, who rocked the political world Tuesday by upsetting Eric Cantor in a Virginia Republican primary.
Well, that’s certainly one explanation. A more earthly one came from former Representative Thomas M. Davis III, another Virginia Republican: “There are some very angry people upset with the status quo, and Eric became part of that.”
Washington will bloviate all day today about what happened, why and what it means. But let’s look at what it means right here in our backyard, namely for Rep. (Just Walk Away) Renee Ellmers. She’s one Republican incumbent in North Carolina who faces just the kind of outsider challenge that toppled Cantor.
Yes, hers is in a general election, from special ed teacher/singer/foundation founder/UNICEF ambassador Clay Aiken. But the lesson holds.
This is a classic case of an outsider challenging the status quo. You’ll remember, a few years back, when Ellmers won election as an outsider. Then she crawled inside the Washington woodwork and made herself quite comfortable, standing by John (of Orange) Boehner on camera and voting to shut down the government and cut veterans’ health care, while complaining she needed her paycheck.
So when you hear the Political Wise Men and Women intoning that Ellmers is safe in a Republican-drawn, Republican-leaning district, remember how sure that crowd was that Cantor would win big.
A side note here: Uber-blogger Thomas Mills told me not long ago that he is skeptical of primary polls. It’s hard to predict who will vote, he said. The same thing could be true in this year’s off-year elections, especially considering the conflicting currents of public anger from right, left and middle.
Bottom line: Expect the unexpected. And as I’ve said before, don’t underestimate Clay Aiken.