Eric Cantor to Resign From House Aug. 18

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) addresses a news conference after telling the Republican caucus that he will resign his post at the U.S. Capitol June 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Cantor announced that he will resign his leadership position in the House of Representatives on July 31 after losing a primary race to Tea Party-backed college professor David Brat.
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Billy House
Aug. 1, 2014, 3:19 a.m.

Eric Can­tor is quit­ting Con­gress early on the heels of his stun­ning Vir­gin­ia primary de­feat in June, des­pite hav­ing said he would con­tin­ue to serve out this term through the end of Decem­ber.

Word of his de­cision, ef­fect­ive Aug. 18, came in an in­ter­view he gave to his ho­met­own news­pa­per Thursday, the same day he of­fi­cially stepped down as House ma­jor­ity lead­er. He couched it as a good move for his con­stitu­ents.

“I want to make sure that the con­stitu­ents in the 7th Dis­trict will have a voice in what will be a very con­sequen­tial lame-duck ses­sion,” Can­tor said in the in­ter­view with the Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment Fri­day from Can­tor’s of­fice.

In the news­pa­per’s pub­lished story about the in­ter­view, Can­tor says he has asked Vir­gin­ia Gov. Terry McAul­iffe to call a spe­cial elec­tion for his dis­trict that co­in­cides with the gen­er­al elec­tion on Nov. 4.

By hav­ing a spe­cial elec­tion in Novem­ber, the win­ner would take of­fice im­me­di­ately, rather than in Janu­ary with the next Con­gress—and “that way he (sic) will also have seni­or­ity, and that will help the in­terests of my con­stitu­ents [be­cause] he can be there in that con­sequen­tial lame-duck ses­sion.”

Can­tor lost his con­gres­sion­al seat after be­ing de­feated by Dave Brat, an eco­nom­ics pro­fess­or from Hen­rico County, in a Re­pub­lic­an primary on June 10.

Later that week, he told re­port­ers in Wash­ing­ton he would be step­ping down as ma­jor­ity lead­er on Ju­ly 31, but also said he in­ten­ded to serve out his term as a mem­ber of Con­gress.

Rep. Kev­in Mc­Carthy of Cali­for­nia has suc­ceeded Can­tor as House ma­jor­ity lead­er. The Vir­gini­an gave a farewell speech as ma­jor­ity lead­er on the House floor Thursday.

“Walk­ing in­to this build­ing and walk­ing onto this floor is something that ex­cited me every day since I was first elec­ted to Con­gress,” Can­tor said. “Not one of us should ever take for gran­ted the awe­some hon­or and re­spons­ib­il­ity we have to serve our fel­low Amer­ic­ans.”

In the in­ter­view with the Times-Dis­patch, though, Can­tor voiced his frus­tra­tion with the some­times slow pace in Con­gress.

“There is a lot of busi­ness that is still to be done,” he said. “I wish that Wash­ing­ton would act quick­er.”

McAul­iffe was quoted by the pa­per as say­ing he was “heart­sick” over Can­tor’s de­feat. Two oth­er seni­or Vir­gin­ia del­eg­a­tion mem­bers are re­tir­ing, too—Re­pub­lic­an Frank R. Wolf and Demo­crat Jim Mor­an.

In the in­ter­view, Can­tor did not re­veal spe­cif­ic plans for his life after pub­lic ser­vice, but said he is look­ing to be­ing “a very act­ive mem­ber in that demo­crat­ic sys­tem and ad­voc­ate for the cause that I be­lieve in.”

If Can­tor has already ob­tained an out­side job of­fer, and ac­cep­ted, there is no pub­lic re­cord on file in the House clerk’s of­fice of his hav­ing no­ti­fied the Eth­ics Com­mit­tee of those job ne­go­ti­ations, as re­quired.


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