Eric Cantor may be a big spender, but he’s not big on healthy eating.
A sum of every transaction on food from the House majority leader's losing campaign filed with the Federal Election Commission from the beginning of 2013 until May 21, 2014, totaled $567,575 – with the bulk of it spent at chain restaurants and steakhouses, for meetings or catered events, for which a large portion of the total was allocated.
Cantor, R-Va., suffered a crushing defeat in Tuesday’s congressional primary by his Tea Party-backed opponent, David Brat. Following the upset, Cantor announced Wednesday that he will step down as House majority leader effective July 31, but that he will finish his term.
Even more shocking than Cantor losing to Brat, an unknown professor at Randolph-Macon College, was the dramatic difference in their campaign spending. Cantor reportedly spent more than $5 million while reports from Politico and the New York Times indicate Brat spent about $200,000 on his campaign – which was run by two staffers with flip phones. That’s just a fraction of what Cantor’s campaign spent on Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, deli sandwiches and steak dinners.
In comparison to the more than half a million spent by Cantor, Brat had only one food expenditure per the FEC filing: $789 spent at Honey Baked Ham in Henrico, Virginia, on May 8. He also spent $612 at Walmart on office supplies.
According to the New York Times, Cantor spent $168,637 alone on meals at Bobby Van’s and BLT Steak, nearly as much as Brat’s total campaign expenditures. Cantor appears to have a real taste for meat, making stops at steakhouses in New York; Chicago; Atlanta; Boca Raton, Florida; and others in the D.C. area.
When not dining on filet mignon, Cantor and his staff chowed down on fast food. Among the campaign’s favorites were national chains like Baja Fresh, Domino’s, Panera Bread, Cosi, Potbelly and PF Chang’s, as well as five trips to Jimmy John's in Glen Allen, Virginia, which bills itself as “Freaky Fast, Freaky Good.”
Cantor made plenty of stops for pizza as well, including nine meetings at Pizza Boli, whose Capitol Hill location declined to comment for this article.
The campaign also spent nearly $4,000 on coffee from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and other chain restaurants in Washington. They may be regulars at the Capitol Hill Starbucks, as noted by NBC reporter Scott MacFarlane, but Cantor and his staff are regulars at sandwich, soup and salad spot Corner Bakery, which they dined on for 24 meetings in Washington and Chicago.
It wasn’t all eating out, though. Every now and again, the Cantor campaign saved some money by shopping at grocery stores like Costco, Safeway and Whole Foods — though food from the organic grocery store didn't come cheap at $1,221.
If anyone is looking for Cantor these days, you can probably find him eating through his feelings at his local Bobby Van’s or the Capitol Hill Starbucks, though he will no longer be able to foot the bill with campaign dollars.
Below is every food transaction made by the Eric Cantor campaign, compiled by IBTimes directly from the FEC filings.