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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will face primary challenge in Virginia

Dave Brat says he’ll bring “true conservative representation” to Congress, tying Cantor to President Obama

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

virginia mugRICHMOND (CFP) — Add one more name to the list of Republican leaders in Congress facing a primary challenge from their Tea Party flank — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Cantor challenger Dave Brat

Cantor challenger Dave Brat

Dave Brat, 49, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College who lives in Henrico County, announced January 9 that he would seek the 7th District seat in Virginia, which Cantor first won in 2000.

“This will be a tough campaign, but I believe the Seventh District deserves better, and that we can restore government to the people,” Brat said in an announcement of his candidacy posted on his Web site.

Brat’s site features a picture of Cantor standing next to Obama, with the caption “Reforming Washington.”

Brat told the National Review that his campaign would “rattle some cages.”

“I want to be Eric Cantor’s term limit,” Brat said.

However, Brat will face a major hurdle in trying to unseat Cantor — cash. The congessman raised more than $3 million during the first nine months of 2013 and had $1.8 million in cash on hand, according to figures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The 7th District includes northern and western areas of metro Richmond, then stretches northwest to the Shenandoah Valley. It is solidly but not overhwlemingly Republican, giving Mitt Romney 57 percent of the vote in 2012 percent of the vote.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

Cantor, 50, from Richmond, is second in the GOP hierarchy, behind House Speaker John Boehner. He won with 58 percent of the vote iin 2012, which was the closest election he’s had since first coming to the House.

Cantor has the distinction of being the only Jewish Republican in Congress.

Canton and Boehner have run into criticism from some Tea Party groups over their support for immigration reform and a recent budget deal reached with Democrats to avoid another government shutdown.

Tea Party activists have vowed to fund a primary challenge to Boehner back home in Ohio. Meanwhile, the two top Republicans in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of  Texas, are both facing primary challengers in 2014.

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