Skip to main content

The Brief: June 11, 2014

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning loss in his GOP primary contest in Virginia on Tuesday has boosted the political fortunes of Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling.

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas.

The Big Conversation

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning loss on Tuesday in his GOP primary contest in Virginia has boosted the political fortunes of Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling.

As The Dallas Morning News' Todd J. Gillman writes:

And because [Cantor] was next in line to be Speaker of the House, his ouster means that Dallas Rep. Jeb Hensarling could be in for a promotion. It had already been widely assumed that Speaker John Boehner may call it quits within a year, tired of tangling with tea partiers.

Whether Hensarling would have challenged Cantor, the party’s No. 2 leader, for Speaker was never clear. The Texan, elected in 2002, gave up his post as the party’s No. 4 leader last year to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — a perch that comes with lots of attention from deep-pocket donors. He has been widely viewed as a plausible contender for Boehner’s job, having led the Republican Study Committee, a key conservative bloc, before joining the party’s leadership team.

Certainly, Cantor's loss to an underfunded Tea Party candidate complicates the narrative of which faction of the Republican Party has the definitive upper hand in 2014. Each side can point to significant victories in this year's primary contests across the nation.

Observers seemed to agree on one main point of more than passing interest to Texas Republicans: Cantor's defeat has made it much more difficult for comprehensive immigration reform to be passed in Congress. Aside from that, Cantor's loss is one of the more complete reversals of political fortune in recent memory. A favorite to inherit the speaker's gavel from John Boehner, Cantor now joins Texas Republican Ralph Hall as the only congressional incumbents to lose in a primary this year.

The Day Ahead

•    The House County Affairs Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take testimony from medical schools and health science centers on the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program 1115 waiver. (agenda)

•    The American Association of Political Consultants holds its daylong regional conference at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The keynote address will be delivered by Jeremy Bird, the former national field director for Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and founder of Battleground Texas. (agenda)

Today in the Trib

Long Waits at Texas VA Clinics Dismay State Lawmakers: "Reports that put several Texas facilities for veterans on the worst lists for wait times will fuel a state Senate hearing this week, as lawmakers look for ways to reduce wait times and advocate for Texas veterans who need health care."

What Texas Could Do To Follow Obama's Climate Change Rules: "Texas would have to slash carbon emissions from its power plants by as much as 195 billion pounds in the next 18 years, according to a Tribune analysis of the Obama administration’s latest proposal to combat climate change. Here's what that might actually mean in practice."

GOP Platform Complicates Hispanic Outreach for Abbott: "The Texas GOP's hardline stance on immigration in its party platform has drawn criticism from Democrats and some Republicans. And it comes as GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott tries to court Hispanic voters."


No, Canada: Sen. Ted Cruz has formally shed his dual citizenship, The Dallas Morning News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry tries to woo Tesla in Sacramento, Los Angeles Times

LULAC sues Texas over learning English in schools, The Associated Press

Kennedy: Texas GOP’s ‘gay therapy’ stand misunderstood, author says, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

GOP divisions over platform, San Antonio Express-News

Texas A&M medical school scaling back in Round Rock, Austin American-Statesman

Long waits prompt call for Valley VA hospital, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"This definitely strengthens Hensarling's hand. He's a lot closer to being Speaker now."

Mark Calabria of the Cato Institute on what Eric Cantor's unexpected loss in his party primary means for the political future of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a rumored candidate for Speaker

Today in TribTalk

Extremists are destroying our party, by Artemio Muniz: "At no time was the destructive force of these ideologically bankrupt extremists clearer to me than at last weekend’s state Republican convention, where I was one of 31 platform committee members."

We will not be suckered by elitist Republicans, by George Rodriguez: "The defeat and replacement of the 'Texas Solution' at last weekend’s state Republican convention was a stunning victory for grassroots and Tea Party activists, and a shocking defeat for the GOP establishment and its big-business crony allies."

The Texas GOP convention was no sideshow, by Jim Henson and Joshua Blank: "On the heels of recent wins by Tea Party-backed candidates in Texas’ Republican primary runoffs, the most conservative elements of the party were again on display at the state GOP convention last weekend."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Yes, I'll donate today

Explore related story topics

Energy Environment Health care Politics Greg Abbott Jeb Hensarling Rick Perry Ted Cruz