On Tuesday, an internal Kingston campaign poll surfaced, showing the Savannah congressman winning 49 to 35 percent in a head-to-head match-up against former Dollar General CEO David Perdue. We have three reasons to take the survey with more than a grain of salt.
First of all, it’s an internal poll. Secondly, it was taken May 27-29, well before an AJC article pointing out that a felon whom U.S. authorities are seeking to deport has acted as Kingston’s biggest campaign bundler.
Then there’s the fact that the internal Kingston survey was conducted by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates – the same pollster used by Gov. Nathan Deal, Attorney General Sam Olens and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
McLaughlin was also Cantor’s pollster. And last week, he gave Cantor a 36-point lead.
Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham is taking much of the credit for Cantor’s defeat. But Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report points to another Georgia thread this morning:
Ben "Cooter" Jones, a former Democratic congressman from Georgia who now lives in Virginia, called on Democrats in that area to cross over in the primary election and vote for Brat to help beat Cantor.
"By voting for David Brat in the Seventh District Republican primary, we Democrats, independents, and Libertarians can make a big difference in American politics," Jones said in a letter to Virginia Democrats. "It is your right to cast that vote."
"A vote for David Brat will be heard not just throughout Washington, D.C. but around the world," predicted Jones, who was defeated by Cantor in a 2002 congressional race.
Many commentators have already declared immigration reform dead in the House this year as a result of Cantor’s loss. Another probably-already-dead-but-now-certainly-so policy — a Voting Rights Act rewrite.
Cantor was the highest profile GOP backer of the plan, pushed by Atlanta Democrat John Lewis among others, to put Georgia and three other states back under federal pre-clearance for their new voting laws. It has not received a committee hearing since being introduced in January.
Eric Cantor’s defeat drew attention away from a harsh counterattack made Tuesday by businessman David Perdue, in a tough GOP runoff for U.S. Senate against Jack Kingston. 80,000 in cash bundled by a felon that authorities are attempting to deport.
But Perdue also pointed to a 2011 article from ProPublica, the investigative journalism website, which documented Kingston's support for a prominent Savannah car dealer and his quest for a presidential pardon. Kingston accepted $10,100 from the car dealer's family before the pardon, and $13,050 afterwards.