Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced that he’s stepping down as House majority leader at the end of July, triggering what will be a heated battle for the Number Two post in the House of Representatives Republican leadership.
Cantor told the House Republican caucus of his decision at a closed-door 4 p.m. meeting in the Capitol. He made the decision after suffering a surprise double-digit defeat in his Richmond-area district to David Brat, a college professor and novice tea party candidate. Though leaving the Republican leadership, Cantor said he intends to finish his term in the House.
Speak with reporters after the closed-door meeting, Cantor called his loss to Brat a “personal setback” and repeatedly declined to give his take on what happened Tuesday night.
Republicans will vote on Cantor’s successor on June 19. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is running for the Cantor’s job. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the House Rules Committee, has been lobbying for support for the job. And Reps. Jeb Henserling of Texas and Jim Jordan or Ohio are also considered potential candidates.
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Cantor immediately endorsed McCarthy, saying ‘he’d make an outstanding majority leader.’