GOP hopefuls look to Brat for inspiration

Conservative hopefuls across the nation were claiming Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) primary challenger David Brat’s victory as their own Tuesday night.

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Radiologist Milton Wolf, challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in his primary, and Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, running against Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), both said Brat’s stunning upset had implications for their own equally long-shot bids.

“Eric Cantor isn't the only incumbent from Virginia who is going to lose his primary this year. On August 5th, it’s Pat Roberts' turn,” said Wolf in a statement, a reference to reports revealing Roberts no longer owns a home in Kansas and spends much of his time at his home in Virginia.

"What we have seen tonight in Virginia shows that no race should be taken for granted and all the money and position in the world doesn't resonate with an electorate that is fed up with a Washington establishment that has abandoned conservative principles,” Carr said in his own statement.

He went on to tie Brat’s win to the success of Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, who forced veteran Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran into an unprecedented runoff last week that was seen as a major coup for the Tea Party.

“From Virginia to Mississippi, a transformational change is underway that is being led by a true grassroots movement,” Carr said.

And McDaniel, who is favored in the runoff but facing a fierce fight with Cochran and his establishment allies, took credit for Brat’s win in a fundraising email.

“We just beat Eric Cantor,” the subject line of the email read, with McDaniel asking supporters to “help us pull off another stunner in Mississippi" two weeks from tonight. 

Cantor’s loss, McDaniel wrote, is “one more example of what can happen when true conservatives band together and demand better from Washington.”

“Career politicians in Washington think they own their seats and that they are untouchable,” he adds. “The fact is, rumors of the tea party's demise have been greatly exaggerated. We proved that last week when we got more votes than Sen. Cochran, and with your help we can prove it again on June 24.”

In the email, McDaniel tells supporters his goal is $50,000 and asks them to contribute $50 or more to his campaign.

Much like Brat, neither Wolf nor Carr are considered serious threats to the incumbents, with polling largely showing the senators up big.

But that was also the case with Cantor, whose own internal polling conducted at the end of May gave him more than 60 percent of the vote — and he lost by 10 points on primary night, with 45 percent to Brat's 55 percent support.

Still, Roberts and Alexander are heavily favored to win renomination, both having stockpiled hefty warchests and facing flawed challengers.