Virginia's 7th Congressional District elections, 2014

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2012

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Virginia's 7th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 10, 2014

Incumbent prior to election:
Eric Cantor Republican Party
Eric Cantor.JPG

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Solid Republican[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Safe R[2]


Virginia U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

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The 7th Congressional District of Virginia will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014. Former Rep. Eric Cantor, who resigned from the House of Representatives on August 18, asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on November 4.[3] Voters in Virginia's 7th District will cast two votes in November -- one to fill the remaining two months of Cantor's term and one to fill the two-year term beginning in January. Election officials in Virginia are worried that having two sets names on the ballot will confuse voters, especially those casting absentee ballots. Henrico County registrar Mark Coakley said, “I would hate for someone overseas to get a ballot thinking we misprinted it and send it back."[4]

David Brat defeated incumbent Eric Cantor, who was the second-highest ranking Republican in the House, in the Republican primary on June 10, 2014.[5] The defeat caused Cantor to resign as House Majority Leader on July 31, 2014, and resign from the House on August 18, 2014.[3] Stuart Rothenberg, who publishes the Rothenberg Political Report, commented on Brat's victory, saying, "This is the political version of the San Francisco earthquake. It came out of nowhere."[6]

Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, will face Jack Trammell (D), who is also a professor at Randolph-Macon, and James Carr (L) in the general election. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rated Virginia’s 7th District as “Safe Republican.”[7]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 27, 2014
June 10, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Virginia is one of 14 states that uses an open primary process, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[8]

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by February 10, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is October 14, 2014 (22 days before election).[9]

See also: Virginia elections, 2014

Incumbent: Eric Cantor (R) was first elected in 2000.

Virginia's 7th Congressional District is located in the central portion of the state and includes Culpeper, Orange, Spotsylvania, Louisa, Hanover, Richmond City and New Kent counties.[10]

Candidates

General election candidates


Republican Party June 10, 2014, Republican primary


Libertarian Party Libertarian candidate

Failed to file


Republican primary

David Brat upset incumbent Eric Cantor in the Republican primary on June 10, 2014.[5]

U.S. House, Virginia District 7 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Brat 55.5% 36,110
Eric Cantor Incumbent 44.5% 28,898
Total Votes 65,008
Source: Results via Associated Press Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.

Unprecedented loss

An unprecedented loss by Cantor gave him the dubious distinction of being the first-ever sitting House Majority Leader to lose a primary bid. Cantor was second in line in leadership behind Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH). The upset victory by Randolf-Macon College professor David Brat put Republicans in the U.S. House into a leadership scramble.

Cantor spent over $1 million dollars in the last month of the election, compared to Brat, who barely raised $100,000 during the entire primary campaign, according to FEC filings.

In May 2014, Cantor was booed at the 7th District's Republican convention, a sign that his constituents were unhappy with his performance in the House. This was his third contested primary race in his eight congressional elections. In 2000, Cantor won his first primary election by a margin of victory of only 0.6 percentage points. In 2012, he moved on to the general election with a 58.9 percentage point margin of victory.[17]

As Speaker of the House John Boehner's second-in-command, Cantor was responsible for being a top spokesman for the party and setting the House agenda. Many believed that Cantor would be the next choice for Speaker.[17][18]

After his defeat, Cantor announced that he would step down as House Majority Leader.[19] Kevin McCarthy, former House Majority Whip, took over as House Majority Leader after Eric Cantor gave up the position on July 31, 2014.[20]

Voter turnout

Increased voter turnout in the Republican primary may have resulted in Cantor's defeat. In 2012, 47,037 votes were cast compared to 65,008 votes in the June 10, 2014, primary, an increase of 38.2 percent. Despite the tea party's high profile primaries in 2010 and 2012, Cantor is the highest-ranking Republican to lose a primary election since the movement's rise. He is also the first majority leader in history to lose a primary bid.[21]

Virginia has an open primary process, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary. With the Democrats in the 7th District having already nominated their candidate at a convention on June 7, they were free to vote in the Republican primary.[17] The 17,900 additional voters casting a ballot in the 2014 Republican primary relative to the 2012 primary could have been a result of Democrats voting in an attempt to unseat Cantor.

Term limit irony

Cantor may have fallen victim to an anti-incumbent movement that he helped fund in the last election cycle. In 2012, the Campaign for Primary Accountability was active in an Illinois GOP primary involving incumbent Don Manzullo and newcomer/challenger Adam Kinzinger. Cantor endorsed Kinzinger, and Cantor's PAC made a $25,000 contribution to the Campaign for Primary Accountability. Kinzinger won.

Cantor resignation

Rep. Eric Cantor resigned from the House of Representatives on August 18, 2014, to avoid a lame-duck session. He asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on November 4, so that the winner can take office immediately, rather than waiting to start in January with the 114th Congress.[3]

Cantor explained his early resignation saying, “I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session.”[3] Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said while Cantor's resignation was a “generous gesture,” his motivation may not have been purely altruistic. “It’s highly probable that he has a very lucrative deal in the works for his post-Congress life, and he’s eager to get started,” said Sabato.[3]

Cantor's defeat in the June 10, 2014, Republican primary set off the following chain of events:

  • June 10, 2014: Brat defeated Cantor, making him the first-ever sitting House Majority Leader to lose a primary bid.
  • June 11, 2014: Cantor announced that he would step down as House Majority Leader.
  • July 31, 2014: Cantor officially resigned as House Majority Leader and announced his resignation from Congress, effective August 18, 2014.
  • August 18, 2014: Cantor resigned from Congress.
  • November 4, 2014: A special election that coincides with the general election will be held in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Democratic nomination

On June 9, 2014, Trammell announced his campaign for Congress on his Facebook page. He wrote, "We kicked off our campaign today after receiving a unanimous nomination from the 7th District Committee. I want to thank all of those who supported my nomination and endorsed me as a candidate. We are excited about the next few months on the campaign trail."[22]

Nomination timeline

As of Monday, June 9, the media was reporting that there was no Democratic nominee.[23] Many believed that active Twitter-user Mike Dickinson, who had appeared on Fox News and declared that he was the Democratic candidate in the 7th District, was indeed the nominee. The District's Democrats vehemently denied that Dickinson was running as an official Democrat.

Confusion continued until the 7th District Democratic Party nominee, Dr. Jack Trammell announced on social media that he was the nominee. The announcement came on primary election night, June 10.

Trammell's tweet from June 10, 2014

Although the road to the nomination seemed strange compared to the typical Democratic primary process, in Virginia this process is fairly common. After speaking with Abbi Easter, Chairwoman of the 7th Congressional District Democratic Party, Ballotpedia was told the steps that the party took in nominating Trammell.

  • December 2013: Each party in Virginia's 11 congressional districts decides the method by which they want to nominate their candidate. The 7th District Democrats opted for the caucus convention.
The duly constituted authorities of the state political party, as stated in a party's rules and bylaws, shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for a member of the United States Senate or for any statewide office shall be made.[24]
  • April 10, 2014: Mike Dickinson appeared on Fox News' "On The Record w/ Greta Van Susteren," announcing that he was an official candidate for the 7th District; however, the filing deadline was at 5PM that day, at which point Dickinson was in the studio at Fox News and never filed to be an official candidate.[25] Despite this, Dickinson continued to use social media as though he was a filed candidate.
  • May 2, 2014: This was the date for the 7th District Democratic convention; however, because nobody filed to be considered at the convention, no convention was held. The party bylaws dictate that if this situation arises, the nomination is left up to the individual district party committees.
  • June 8, 2014: After officially calling a meeting a week prior, as required by party bylaws, the 7th District Democratic committee met. Dr. Jack Trammell had filled out all the necessary paperwork to file. At the meeting, the party committee unanimously voted to nominate Trammell. The deadline for nomination by convention was June 10, 2014.
  • June 9, 2014: Trammell officially filed his paperwork with the Virginia Board of Elections.

Media

Eric Cantor


Cantor's first primary ad, "Decision."

Cantor's second primary ad, "Advisor."
  • Cantor's first television ad of the 2014 primary, "Decision," aired on April 23. Cantor also released a similar radio ad.[26]
  • Cantor's second ad, "Advisor," attacked, David Brat, by trying "to tie Brat to tax hikes proposed under then Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine."[27] In addition, Cantor's campaign created a website attacking Brat's record.

Campaign contributions

Eric Cantor

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Cantor's reports.[28]

Eric Cantor (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[29]April 15, 2013$1,080,247.45$1,193,432.81$(739,737.48)$1,533,942.78
July Quarterly[30]July 15, 2013$1,533,942.78$1,139,154.20$(627,209.68)$2,045,887.30
October Quarterly[31]October 15, 2013$2,045,887.30$679,701.20$(913,483.29)$1,812,105.21
Year-end[32]January 31, 2014$1,812,105$920,094$(812,579)$1,919,620
April Quarterly[33]April 15, 2014$1,919,620.05$1,065,608.16$(930,842.5)$2,054,385.71
Running totals
$4,997,990.37$(4,023,851.95)

David Brat

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Brat's reports.[34]

David Brat (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[35]April 15, 2014$0.00$89,610.53$(47,192.85)$42,417.68
Running totals
$89,610.53$(47,192.85)

Mike Dickinson

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Dickinson's reports.[36]

Mike Dickinson (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[37]April 15, 2014$0.00$4,547.50$(3,519.54)$1,027.96
Running totals
$4,547.5$(3,519.54)

District history

Candidate Ballot Access
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2012

The 7th Congressional District of Virginia held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. Incumbent Eric Cantor won re-election in the district.[38]

U.S. House, Virginia District 7 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic E. Wayne Powell 41.4% 158,012
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Cantor Incumbent 58.4% 222,983
     Write-In N/A 0.2% 914
Total Votes 381,909
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

2010

On November 2, 2010, Eric Cantor won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Rick E. Waugh, Jr. (D) and Floyd C. Bayne (G) in the general election.[39]

U.S. House, Virginia District 7 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Cantor incumbent 59.2% 138,209
     Democratic Rick E. Waugh 34.1% 79,616
     Green Floyd C. Bayne 6.5% 15,164
     N/A Write-in 0.2% 413
Total Votes 233,402

See also

External links

References

  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR AUGUST 8, 2014," accessed August 21, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 21, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Cantor to resign from Congress Aug. 18," accessed August 1, 2014
  4. Washington Times, "As Eric Cantor steps down, Virginia election officials worry about voter confusion," accessed August 19, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Associated Press, "Virginia - Summary Vote Results," accessed June 10, 2014
  6. La Times, "Washington reels as House's Eric Cantor loses to tea party challenger," accessed June 10, 2014
  7. Roll Call, “Eric Cantor Brings in Bucks for Primary Challenge,” accessed June 2, 2014
  8. Code of Virginia, "Title 24.2, Section 530," accessed June 10, 2014
  9. Virginia State Board of Elections Website, "Become a Registered Voter," accessed January 3, 2014
  10. Virginia Redistricting Map "Map" accessed July 24, 2012
  11. The Hill, "Eric Cantor gets a Tea Party challenger", accessed January 7, 2014
  12. Libertarian Party of Virginia, "Our Candidates," accessed March 21, 2014
  13. Campaign website, "Home", accessed December 3, 2013
  14. Virginia State Board of Elections, "2014 Republican Primaries for U.S House of Representatives," accessed April 3, 2014
  15. Examiner, "Congressional candidate: 'Pro life people are the true tyrants of America'," accessed March 1, 2014
  16. MrMediaTraining.com, "The Candidate Who Got Crushed by a Smarter Interviewer," April 13, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 USA Today, "GOP leader Eric Cantor loses in shock Tea Party upset," June 11, 2014
  18. Politico, "Cantor loses," June 11, 2014
  19. CNN, "Eric Cantor dropping leadership post, calls loss 'personal setback'," accessed June 18, 2014
  20. Fox News, "California Rep. Kevin McCarthy selected as new House majority leader," June 19, 2014
  21. Smart Politics, "Eric Cantor 1st House Majority Leader to Lose Renomination Bid in History," June 10, 2014
  22. Facebook, "Jack Trammell for Congress," accessed June 10, 2014
  23. WUSA9, "VOTER'S GUIDE: Va. voters go to polls in 3 US House districts," June 9, 2014
  24. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  25. Huffington Post, "Eric Cantor's Unofficial Rival Dukes It Out With Fox News (UPDATE)," June 11, 2014
  26. TimesDispatch.com, "Cantor's first ad notes contrast with president's policies," accessed April 22, 2014
  27. Politico, "Eric Cantor hits primary opponent," accessed April 24, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Cantor Summary Report," accessed July 24, 2013
  29. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  30. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  31. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Year-End Report," accessed February 18, 2014
  33. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 22, 2014
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Brat 2014 Summary reports," accessed April 29, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Dickinson 2014 Summary reports," accessed April 29, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  38. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Virginia"
  39. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013