Political Buzz: Why Southwest Florida Should Care About Eric Cantor's Loss

Proponents of currently proposed immigration reform were dealt a big defeat, especially for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

BY June 11, 2014

There would seem to be little reason for folks in Southwest Florida to care about U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, losing his primary last night. But if you care about immigration reform (either in the pro or anti column), this is a big deal.

There was already a minuscule window of hope for any serious legislation to get through the House as it was, but losing the second highest-ranking member to openly support plans—Cantor had supported a GOP version of the DREAM Act and was seen as someone open to bringing the issue forward—pretty much closes it. Especially since Cantor’s opponent—economics professor Dave Brat—ran his campaign in large part as a statement against immigration bills in play.

That’s a huge blow for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the Miami Republican whose district includes Eastern Collier County. He’s been one of the architects for a bipartisan proposal that has been slowly gathering steam in Congress. Just last week, Diaz-Balart told Roll Call that he thought immigration reform was gaining momentum.

But with Cantor a lame duck, and likely without any juice, it seems the window closed before the summer even started.

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