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Where Did Eric Cantor Come From?

The Effective Use of the Internet

This past weekend anyone interested in news about the the Presidential campaign probably came across a story or two about Congressman Eric Cantor emerging as a lead prospect to becoming John McCain’s choice for a running mate.

Today, this story continues to spread. The New York Times reports that the Democrat National Committee has launched a web-site attacking potential Republican VP choices and Cantor makes the front page. While the Wall Street Journalgives the Cantor story quite a bit of digital ink.

The political question worth pondering is how did a relatively unknown conservative Congressman from Virgina become a prime contender for Vice President. He’s getting more ink than Romney and other better known Republican contenders. How has he gotten to this point?

Inside the Beltway, Cantor is rightfully seen as a future conservative leader. He holds a leadership position in the House, he is articulate, energetic, and young.

In the past few weeks he has made the most of his opportunities to lead attacks on Obama’s overseas trip and his anemic energy policies. But this still does not answer the question of why he is now being taken seriously by the McCain team.

One interesting observation that is being mentioned in the press is that an internet based grassroots movement supporting Cantor has been using many of the internet resources that Obama used to build a campaign. There are reports that Cantor for VP web-site has been hopping as more and more people want to learn about him and to sign up as supporters. Look at the members at the Cantor for VP Facebook page and you will see a geographically diverse band of supporters.

This independent campaign for Cantor seems to me to be the first attempt at a grassroots Republican movement in the national election. Who said the Right can’t be effective on the web?

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