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.
Cantor immediately endorsed McCarthy, saying ‘he’d make an outstanding majority leader.’