GOP Leadership in ‘Chaos’ After Eric Cantor’s Loss

“We’re absolutely stunned.”

Caption:WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (R) listens to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) speak after attending the weekly House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner spoke on various issues including jobs and the unemployment rate.
National Journal
Billy House
June 10, 2014, 4:45 p.m.

Be­fuddle­ment hit and lingered with­in the House GOP lead­er­ship ranks as Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor’s elec­tion fate was un­wind­ing on Tues­day. Can­tor lost in a ma­jor up­set to primary chal­lenger Dave Brat.

Speak­er John Boehner, in a state­ment from his of­fice late Tues­day night, said, “Eric Can­tor and I have gone through a lot to­geth­er.”

“He’s a good friend and a great lead­er, and someone I’ve come to rely upon on a daily basis as we make the tough choices that come with gov­ern­ing,” ad­ded Boehner, who said his thoughts Tues­day night were with Can­tor, his wife Di­ana, and their kids.

A seni­or Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship aide de­scribed the mood as “chaos for the lead­er­ship ranks.”

“We’re ab­so­lutely stunned. Hon­estly, we really can’t be­lieve it,” said the aide, who likened it to the 2004 elec­tion de­feat of Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was Sen­ate minor­ity lead­er at the time.

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“Giv­en the spec­u­la­tion Boehner him­self may de­cide not to run again for speak­er, the idea had been out there that Can­tor would simply walk in­to the speak­er­ship,” said the aide. “But now, who the hell would be the next speak­er?” — par­tic­u­larly, the aide ad­ded, if Paul Ry­an doesn’t want it, or Rep. Tom Price of Geor­gia isn’t in­ter­ested.

And there are more im­me­di­ate ques­tions — in­clud­ing wheth­er Can­tor would step down as ma­jor­ity lead­er right away, giv­en the no-con­fid­ence vote of his own con­stitu­ents.

“Every­one knows it was a tough race out there. But when you have all the money in the world, spend those re­sources — in the long run, money usu­ally wins out,” said the aide.

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