Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hopes of immigration reform this year are dashed as GOP floor leader loses in a historic primary

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
The historic defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by an anti-immigration candidate in a Republican primary Tuesday dashed hopes for any kind of immigration reform bill this year.

"It pretty much ends the chance of immigration reform getting done this year (and maybe the rest of the Obama presidency)," Mark Murray writes on "First Read" for NBC News. "As we’ve constantly written, immigration continues to be the issue that tears the Republican Party apart. And that was especially true in Virginia, where Cantor’s victorious opponent, Dave Brat, blasted the No. 2 House Republican for supporting a 'Dream Act'-like proposal to provide a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally."

Though Cantor had helped block broader immigration reforms from coming to the House floor, many observers expected him to broker some sort of deal, perhaps starting with agriculture issues, after he won renomination. Now, after a primary turnout that was larger than expected (some Democrats crossed over but were not decisive), Republicans are unlikely to deal with the issue this year—or even later. "The news media’s focus on immigration is likely to deter Republicans from supporting comprehensive immigration reform," Nate Cohn of The New York Times writes in "The Upshot" blog. "It could even discourage Republican presidential candidates in 2016 when the party will need to broaden its appeal to Hispanic voters in states like Florida."

Cantor could still run as a write-in candidate, but that is unlikely; two close associates say he won't, and "He lost the primary to challenger David A. Brat by more than 7,000 votes, with Brat receiving 55.55 percent of the votes and Cantor 44.45 percent," Laura Vozzella and David A. Fahrenthold report for The Washington Post. "Historians said that no House leader of Cantor’s rank had ever been defeated in a primary." (Read more) For a detailed look at the latest regional polling on immigration, from the Post, click here.

The Democratic nominee against Brat, an economist, is his fellow Randolph Macon College professor, Jack Trammell, a sociologist and historian who has written 21 books. The college issued a news release about the faceoff, and WTVR in Richmond profiled them, noting that Trammell has a higher rating on

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