How Talk Radio's Laura Ingraham's Anti-Immigrant Campaign Helped Knock Off Eric Cantor
Conservative radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham made good on her promise to primary any Republican candidate who didn't share her anti-immigrant views, actively campaigning against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by endorsing his victorious opponent Dave Brat and making appearances at rallies to support him.
Cantor Loses To Challenger Dave Brat In VA Primary Upset
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Loses In Primary To Dave Brat. On the night of June 10, Rep. Cantor lost in the Republican primary to his conservative challenger Dave Brat, widely considered a longshot to win the race:
Meet Dave Brat, an economics and ethics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, who launched a long-shot -- and ultimately successful -- bid to oust House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from his seat representing Virginia's 7th Congressional District.
Brat, who admits that he has supported several Cantor candidacies over the years, says he mounted his improbable primary campaign because the House GOP's No. 2 leader has lost touch with his constituents, "veering from the Republican creed."
"Years ago he had a good conservative track record, but now he's veered off," Brat told ABC News during an interview on Capitol Hill in May. "If you go to Heritage and look at their score, I think he's at about a 53 right now. I mean, that's an F-minus." [ABC News, 6/10/14]
Brat Attacked Cantor's Views On Immigration In Campaign. The Wall Street Journal reported that Brat "has repeatedly accused [Cantor] of supporting amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally":
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who goes before GOP primary voters on Tuesday, has faced a sharp attack from his underfunded opponent, who has repeatedly accused him of supporting amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally.
Back home, Mr. Cantor has responded to the attacks by emphasizing his opposition to "amnesty," while also making sure that no pro-immigration legislation reaches the House floor, at least for the moment.
It was somewhat unexpected, mostly because Mr. Cantor is not exactly a champion for an immigration overhaul. He says he supports citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but he has yet to introduce much less schedule a vote on this idea. He personally blocked a vote this spring on an amendment to a defense policy bill that would let young illegal immigrants brought to the country by their parents earn green cards by serving in the military. And when he put his agenda out for House action in June, immigration was conspicuously absent.
Still, Mr. Brat has attacked him relentlessly on the issue. [The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/14]
Ingraham Blasted Republicans For Supporting Any Pathway To Citizenship
Ingraham: Republican Politicians Supporting "Special Pathway" For Undocumented Immigrants "Are In Violation Of Their Oath Of Office." During a discussion with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) on the February 4, 2014 edition of her radio show, Ingraham told him that "we don't want any bill," adding:
INGRAHAM: As far as I can tell, any Republican who stands up and says "We are going to give a special pathway to the people who are here illegally" are in violation of their oath of office. That is my take on it. And I think we have millions of people across the country who are ready to throw all of you out of office unless you stand up for the American worker. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 2/4/14, via Media Matters]
Ingraham Advised Boehner To Step Away From Immigration Reform "Trap." On the July 10, 2013 broadcast of her radio show, Ingraham likened immigration reform to a "trap" and stated that she was pressuring Boehner to make sure that he ultimately "walk[ed] away from this trap set" by congressional Democrats and other immigration reform supporters. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 7/10/13]
Ingraham: Immigration Reform Will Be "The End Of The Republican Party." On the April 17, 2013 edition of her radio show, Laura Ingraham claimed that immigration reform "will be the end of the Republican Party as we know it." [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/17/13]
Ingraham Repeatedly Stumped For Anti-Immigrant Candidate Brat
Ingraham Blog Promotes Dave Brat Rally Appearance. On June 2, Ingraham's blog promoted her appearance at a rally for Dave Brat, touting his "consistent, principled stance against Amnesty." The post, which includes a statement from Brat, cites an upcoming House vote on amnesty as a reason to support Brat: "A new report shows that House Leadership is eyeing a vote on Amnesty just 5 days after the June 10th primary is over. Is this a coincidence? Vote Brat and stop amnesty once and for all." [LauraIngraham.com, 6/2/14]
During Brat Rally, Ingraham Says She Wishes Cantor Had Been Traded For American Prisoner Of Taliban. At a June 4 rally for Dave Brat, Laura Ingraham said she wished Obama had traded Eric Cantor for Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held captive by the Taliban:
INGRAHAM: I kind of wish, thinking about this, that President Obama would have thought this through a little bit more. And maybe, for getting Sgt. Bergdahl out of captivity, instead of sending five Taliban MVPs over there, he could have just traded one Eric Cantor. [MSNBC, The Last Word, 6/10/14]
Ingraham's Website Posts Election Day Reminder: Vote Brat, Stop Amnesty. An Election Day post on Laura Ingraham's blog slammed Eric Cantor for "announcing that he will work with Barack Obama to pass amnesty for illegal children," and told readers to instead "VOTE DAVE BRAT TODAY." [LauraIngraham.com, 6/10/14]
Ingraham Blamed Cantor For The "Enticement" Of Immigrant Children In Humanitarian Crisis. On the June 3 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham blasted congressional Republicans and Democrats who support any kind of immigration reform, including Rep. Eric Cantor, for the "enticement" of the immigrant children into the country, which she described as "an invasion facilitated by our own government." [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 6/3/14, via Media Matters]
Ingraham Attends Henrico, VA Rally For Brat. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham's attendance at a June 3 rally for Virginia congressional candidate Dave Brat:
Dave Brat drew some star power Tuesday night in the final week of his bid to beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 7th Congressional District's Republican primary.
Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio talk show host, author and political commentator, attended a Brat rally at a country club in Cantor's Glen Allen neighborhood in Henrico County. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/3/14]
Fox Personalities Tout Ingraham's Role In Brat's Defeat Of Cantor
Fox News Personalities Praise "The Power Of Talk Radio" For Dave Brat's Unseating Majority Leader Eric Cantor. During the June 10 edition of The Kelly File, Fox's Brit Hume claimed Laura Ingraham and other conservative radio show hosts' support of Dave Brat helped him to defeat Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Hume added, "There are parts of this country where if Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin are on the radio supporting you, that's worth a lot. ... In the right place, with the right constituency, those people hold real power." Kelly chimed in that it was "the power of talk radio." [Fox News, The Kelly File, 6/10/14, via Media Matters]
Fox's Kelly: Ingraham's Support Was "Instrumental" In Brat's Victory Over Cantor. During Fox News' live coverage of Rep. Cantor's primary defeat, Fox host Megyn Kelly said Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and others "were instrumental, perhaps, in causing this event tonight." When she interviewed Ingraham later in the show, Kelly more firmly called her "instrumental" in Cantor's defeat, noting that "she campaigned for Brat, she rallied for Brat, and must be very pleased with the results tonight." During her interview, Ingraham continued to warn the GOP away from immigration reform. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/10/14]