Cantor was joined by Linwood Cobb, his right-hand man in the Seventh District Republican Committee whose ouster foreshadowed Cantor’s own defeat.
Rep. Brat and his supporters were not invited, Cobb said, because the meeting was not focused on the district but on a statewide effort to expand the party by reaching out to minorities and other groups who might not normally vote Republican.
“The statewide aspect of it is a big factor of what we wanted to start working toward,” Cobb said in a phone interview. “We are not going to win statewide [by] just talking to conservative Republicans or just tea party Republicans. We’ve got to go beyond that to win.”
Not only was Brat not invited, his spokesman said, he didn’t even know it was happening.
“It’s a little strange that they have a meeting in the district without alerting the district’s congressman,” Brian Gottstein said.
Ron Headlund, a Brat volunteer, said he was blocked from the suburban Richmond DoubleTree hotel where the meeting was held.
“I’m assuming that the Eric Cantor machine is working to drive out the grass roots from the Republican Party,” he said.