Eric Cantor should take heart from Don Beyer’s big win


Don Beyer won the Virginia Democratic primary for Rep. Jim Moran’s House seat Tuesday. (Photo by J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post)

Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning loss Tuesday night hardly means his political or public career is over in Virginia.

For example, former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer trounced his opponents that night in the Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran. Beyer won 45.8 percent of the vote, double that of the second-place finisher in a multi-candidate race. He’s a shoo-in to win the heavily Democratic congressional district in the fall.

But Beyer, we recall, has also tasted defeat. After eight years as lieutenant governor, he ran for governor in 1997 and lost to Republican Jim Gilmore, then Virginia attorney general, by virtually the same spread as Cantor’s, 56-43. (Granted, he wasn’t drummed out by his own party.)

Beyer’s win is also good news for diplomats wondering if there’s life after the embassy manse. Beyer, it should be noted, was President Obama’s first ambassador to Switzerland. (Hmmm. A leg up on a House Foreign Affairs committee seat?)

So if Jeb wins in 2016, Cantor could always put in for some fine foreign posting.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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