According to Republican officials, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post by the end of July after losing Virginia primary election Tuesday night in a major upset.
Eric Cantor, who became the first House Majority Leader to ever lose a re-election, plans to step down from his leadership position by the end of July, according to the Washington Post.
The Post, citing “three Republicans familiar with his plans,” said that Eric Cantor will officially announce his plans later Wednesday at a meeting with colleagues.
On the morning after his loss to David Brat, an economics professor supported by the tea party, there had been quiet pressure on Eric Cantor to step down from his post as the Republicans’ second-ranking leader.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post by the end of July after losing Virginia primary election
Others did not wait for him to make his intentions known.
Representative Kevin McCarthy of California was informing fellow Republicans he intended to run to succeed Eric Cantor, officials said, and Representative Pete Sessions of Texas also signaled an interest.
Representative Steve Scalise was hoping to replace Kevin McCarthy in his current spot, officials said.
Eric Cantor’s defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.
The outcome may well mark the end of Eric Cantor’s political career, although at 51 he has plenty of time to attempt a future comeback.
Eric Cantor has lost a Virginia Republican Party primary election to David Brat, a challenger from the hard-right Tea Party movement.
Little-known economics professor David Brat defeated the second-ranking House of Representatives member 56%-44%.
David Brat’s shock victory exposed conservative dissatisfaction with Eric Cantor, who was first elected in 2000.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had been widely favored to win, having raising significantly more money than David Brat.
Eric Cantor has lost a Virginia Republican Party primary election to David Brat (photo Reuters)
David Brat attacked Eric Cantor’s record, including his support for some immigration reforms, and rallied enthusiastic members of the anti-tax, conservative populist Tea Party movement in the low-turnout race.
In a forewarning of trouble, last month Eric Cantor was booed at a meeting of Republican activists after a local party chairman whom he supported was removed in favor of a Tea Party candidate.
A lawyer, Eric Cantor, 51, was first elected to Congress in 2000 after serving nine years in the Virginia House of Delegates.
After the Tea Party emerged in 2009, he forged ties with the loose-knit movement, drawing on its support to help the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives the following year.
Eric Cantor was seen as representing a more conservative counterweight to House Speaker John Boehner, seen by some in the Tea Party as too conciliatory to Democratic President Barack Obama.
He was even viewed by some as possible successor to John Boehner.
David Brat will now face Democratic nominee Jack Trammell – also a professor at Randolph-Macon College – in this fall’s general election.