United States Congressman Eric Cantor is stepping down as the House of Representatives Republican leader on July 31. This move follows Cantor’s shocking defeat in Tuesday’s primary in his home state of Virginia. Cantor was soundly defeated by challenger David Brat, according to Reuters on Tuesday.
The word that Rep. Cantor, the number 2 House Republican, will be resigning came from leadership aides. Prior to yesterday’s huge defeat in the Virginia primary, Cantor was considered to be a likely successor to the House of Representative’s current speaker, Speaker John Boehner. Now, the fight for who will make up the Republican’s upper rank in the House ensues, according to the New York Times.
Those behind the scenes who are speaking about Cantor’s resignation assert that Cantor is hoping to limit the impending struggle within the House Republican caucus over who will take over his post now that he’s been ousted via the election. On Wednesday morning, Cantor met with other members of the leadership, prior to a larger meeting to be held later in the day. During the morning meeting, he told those present that he would not be trying to get re-elected via a write-in campaign this fall.
While some may think that he believes he couldn’t win anyway and the he is apparently letting the overwhelming voice of the Virginia voters stand, he claims that to run as a write-in candidate would imply he is not a Republican. In spite of being ousted from office for losing his conservative views, he says he is a Republican and would run for election no other way.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is next in line as the number 3 Republican in the House, intends to seek Cantor’s position as the number 2 representative. Rep. Peter Sessions of Texas, the House Rules Committee chairman, however, intends to challenge McCarthy for the position.