CNBC/NYT’s Harwood Blames Anti-Semitism for Cantor’s Defeat

Discussing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising primary loss, on Friday’s Washington Week on PBS, John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, a regular on NBC and MSNBC, and a political writer for the New York Times, blamed hostility to Jews in Cantor’s “very rural conservative southern district.”
 
“Eric Cantor is a Jewish Republican. This is a very rural conservative southern district where that is not a -- you don’t have a lot of Jewish members of Congress from the South.”

Host Gwen Ifill, hardly a conservative, jumped in to counter Harwood’s presumption: “Oh, but he’s been elected several times from this district.”

Robert Costa of the Washington Post noted “he’s been elected since 2000” and asserted “I don’t think the faith of Eric Cantor had anything to do with it.”

Harwood first forwarded his theory on Wednesday morning’s Squawk Box on CNBC, where he cited Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report: “He said he thought the fact that Eric Cantor is Jewish played a role in this very conservative district.”

In his election night wrap-up, Wasserman  maintained:

“The button-down Cantor was also never a perfect fit for the 7th CD. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House, ran strongest tonight in his white-collar home base of Henrico County and the city of Richmond, but the 7th CD is full of much more evangelical Tea Party oriented areas like Hanover County where Cantor underperformed even in his 2012 primary.”

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center