By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
You can’t help but wonder.
If Lee Terry’s 2014 primary election wasn’t in the books, would he still win?
The question is just part of the aftershock from Eric Cantor’s tea party ambush.
The House Majority Leader’s stunning upset is adding fuel to tea partyer Chip Maxwell’s third-party run as Maxwell now claims Terry, an eight-term incumbent, is a “dead man walking.”
As for Terry, he admits to a bit of shell-shock, telling CNN that Cantor’s loss “is sending shivers through the Republican conference … this is very much a nonestablishment year, if you’re in Congress, people are angry at you.”
Just a month ago, Terry survived a threat from his right, defeating fellow Republican Dan Frei 53-47. It was a race that shouldn’t have been close.Terry outspent Frei 20-1.
But Frei’s defeat launched Maxwell’s run, and insiders on both sides argue the race is now Democrat Brad Ashford’s to lose as Maxwell carves conservative votes from Terry, leaving Ashford on top.
But given Cantor’s defeat, Maxwell is having none of that, saying:
“Because I am conservative, critics say I am delivering the election to the Democrat. They have it backwards. I am the way to beat the Democrat. Republicans denouncing me will end up thanking me when they face the fact that the incumbent is politically a dead man walking.”
Terry admits change is in the wind, telling CNN he’s just not sure how hard it’s blowing.
CNN: As a rank and file Republican, seeing what happened to your leader, do you feel less inclined to compromise?
Lee Terry: I think that’s one of the messages, is that first of all if you’re here, you’ve got a target, just because you’re here. You can do great work, but they’re still going to come after you. And number two, do we compromise? How do we work together? All of this is now in question.
CNN: So, is that a yes, are you more reluctant to compromise now?
Lee Terry: Well I think you have to really look at each issue, but yeah, I think the first thing you’re going to say is, ‘Is there political harm in having negotiations?’ Because negotiations is now a bad thing.”
Which takes us full circle.
What if Terry’s primary was yet to come. What would the “Cantor Effect” be?
Not surprisingly, Kent Grisham, Terry’s campaign manager, tells Nebraska Watchdog Cantor’s loss would have only solidified Terry’s “strong Republican base.”
“All politics are local, this was a rural Virginia Republican primary … A big part of the Cantor vote was over his performance as a local congressman … When we look at the performance of our local congressman, his constituent services are superb and his time spent in the local district is great,” Grisham said.
As for Maxwell’s claim that Terry is a “dead man walking,” Grisham declined to address that “kind of language and rhetoric.”
Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]
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