Cantor hits primary challenger in TV ad

Greg Nash

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) isn't taking any chances in his bid for reelection, airing a television ad this week that accuses his Republican primary opponent of being a “liberal” who advised Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

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Cantor is facing a challenge from David Brat, an economist at Randolph-Macon College, who has said the No. 2 House Republican is insufficiently conservative.

Hitting back at Brat, Cantor on Wednesday released an ad highlighting the fact that Brat served on Kaine’s council of economic advisers when he was governor at a time when he pushing for higher taxes.

“Liberal college professor? Time Kaine adviser? Republican?” the narrator in the ad says. “Come on, professor. You’ve got to be kidding.”

Brat responded with a statement calling the ad a “bold-faced lie.” He said that while he did serve on the advisory council, he did not advocate for higher taxes or provide policy advice to Kaine. 

Cantor has banked more than $2 million for the race compared to Brat's less than $90,000. But with approval ratings for Congress near an all-time low, Cantor is taking the challenge seriously ahead of the commonwealth's June 10 primary. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is facing several primary challengers in his home district and has spent money on a television ad for the first time in years, although his spot has a positive tone.