It’s the win that launched a thousand fundraising letters — call it the Brat effect.
When Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in what might be this century's most-gobsmacking American political upset, people noticed. And other candidates challenging strong incumbents hope that they can tap into the wave of optimism that surged through Tea Partiers this week.
One Republican pollster said that Cantor's loss -- and any ensuing grassroots energy -- is unlikely to change the results of any primary contests. In the primary contest with the highest profile, state Sen. Chris McDaniel's contest against incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, the terms of engagement have very much been defined, he continued -- that race is about Mississippi, Cochran's record, and the comparative merits of the two candidates.
“Brat/Cantor doesn’t hurt from a tactic point,” said the pollster, arguing any impact on the race would be in McDaniel’s favor. “Momentum begets momentum. It’s something you can talk about, but I don’t know that it alters the structure of that race, which already favors McDaniel.”