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How did Eric Cantor lose? He was the second-most powerful Republican member of the House and the likely successor to John Boehner as Speaker. But voters in his Virginia district tossed him out in favor of a Tea Party candidate who was outspent by Cantor 20 to 1.

Because Virginia primaries are non-partisan, like ours, you can ask for a Republican ballot even if you are a Democrat or an Independent. There’s speculation that some Democrats voted for David Brat to make trouble for Republicans by saddling them with a Tea Party candidate for the fall.

There’s a lot of speculation that Cantor energized the right wing of his party by talking positively about immigration reform. Whatever the reasons for his loss, it’s another example of how critical primaries can be. Despite that, a pitiful 12 percent of voters in Virginia’s Seventh District cast a ballot.

We often refer to our right to vote. I like to think of it as an obligation. Make your voice heard and vote in EVERY election!