GOP Colleagues Say Goodbye to Eric Cantor as Majority Leader

The closed-door meeting featured a highlight film and a standing ovation for Cantor.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) makes remarks during a news briefing at the U.S. Captiol March 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. Cantor said that leaders from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have turned threats against Democrats who voted for the health care reform package into a political issue.
National Journal
Billy House
July 29, 2014, 7:05 a.m.

Out­go­ing House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from most of his fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans on Tues­day at a closed-door meet­ing, where a high­light film was played to mark some of his most mem­or­able mo­ments.

“Thank you,” said Speak­er John Boehner, in an emo­tion­al send-off to his top lieu­ten­ant, who of­fi­cially steps down from his top-level post at mid­night Thursday to make way for Rep. Kev­in Mc­Carthy as the new ma­jor­ity lead­er.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 5131) }}

“He was con­fid­ent, as I am, that Eric has great things left to do in the fu­ture,” said Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., of Boehner’s re­marks.

Can­tor, 51, re­spon­ded with some of his own ex­pres­sions of ap­pre­ci­ation, in­clud­ing to his staff.

Of course, Can­tor’s de­par­ture from the lead­er­ship ranks comes not by choice, but as a res­ult of his stun­ning Vir­gin­ia primary-elec­tion de­feat in June to a tea-party-backed chal­lenger. After his primary loss, he an­nounced he would be step­ping down as ma­jor­ity lead­er — and set Ju­ly 31 as the date.

He says he plans to stick around as a mem­ber un­til the end of this year.

As ma­jor­ity lead­er since 2011, Can­tor has been in charge of set­ting the House floor-vote agenda, something that some­times caused ten­sion with con­ser­vat­ives and oth­ers.

His term as Boehner’s No. 2 also has been marked — par­tic­u­larly in the ini­tial years — with spec­u­la­tion or per­cep­tions that he was ruth­lessly purs­ing the speak­er’s post.

But on Tues­day, little of that seemed im­port­ant.

The closed-door ses­sion with col­leagues likely rep­res­en­ted his last GOP Con­fer­ence meet­ing as ma­jor­ity lead­er, with the House set to break later this week for its re­cess over Au­gust and early Septem­ber.

What was in the high­light film?

“Oh, it was just a re­cog­ni­tion of Eric’s lead­er­ship, and really cel­eb­rat­ing what his lead­er­ship has done for us,” Thompson said. He said it ex­ten­ded from the day Can­tor’s name was put on the House floor, ori­gin­ally, as the ma­jor­ity lead­er, to high­lights from some of his speeches.

Ap­par­ently, not every­one was watch­ing in­tently, though.

“I don’t mean to be ugly. I just didn’t watch it that close,” said Rep. Wal­ter Jones, R-N.C., one of the Re­pub­lic­ans who fre­quently differed with Can­tor on le­gis­la­tion.

The high­light video was put to­geth­er by staffers of the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence. A spokes­man said con­fer­ence chair Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers “wanted to do a trib­ute high­light­ing all of his work as ma­jor­ity lead­er.”

What We're Following See More »
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
2 days ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
1 days ago

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.