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Cantor resigning from House leadership on July 31

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:06 a.m. HST, Jun 11, 2014


WASHINGTON >> WASHINGTON (AP) -- Repudiated at the polls, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post at the end of next month, officials said Wednesday, clearing the way for a potentially disruptive Republican shake-up just before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake.

Cantor was expected to announce his plans at a late-afternoon meeting of the party's rank and file, less than 24 hours after the Virginia Republican lost a primary election to David Brat, a little-known and underfunded rival backed by tea party groups.

Before the announcement, jockeying already had broken out among fellow Republicans eager to move up the House leadership ladder -- or establish a foothold on it.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the party whip and third-ranking leader, informed fellow Republicans he intended to run to succeed Cantor, and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas also made clear his interest.

Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, the chief deputy whip, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana quickly jumped into the expected race to succeed McCarthy.

Cantor's office declined to confirm his decision, which was reported by numerous Republican aides as well as lobbyists who said they had been informed of the plans. His intention was to declare his decision to step down from the leadership on July 31.

One Republican said he feared the effects of Cantor's defeat could be debilitating for the party and the government.

Interviewed on MSNBC, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he was worried that Cantor's stunning loss may lead to even more congressional gridlock. Asked if he thought immigration legislation was dead, he replied, "I'm concerned that Ted Cruz supporters, Rand Paul supporters, are going to use this as an excuse" to shut down the government.

"This is not conservatism to me," King said. "Shutting down the government is not being conservative."

The resignation would mark a swift end to a quick rise to power for Cantor, 51, who was elected to Congress in 2000, was appointed to the leadership two years later, and then rose steadily to become the second-most powerful Republican in the House. In that post, he was the most powerful Jewish Republican in Congress, and occasionally was seen as a potential rival to Speaker John Boehner but more often as a likely successor.

He was defeated Tuesday by primary rival David Brat, an economics professor making his first run for office in an underfunded campaign that benefited from the support of tea party groups.

Brat campaigned as a foe of immigration legislation, and said Cantor was likely to help immigrants living in the United States illegally gain amnesty if given a new term in the House.

Interviewed on MSNBC, Brat declined to spell out any policy specifics.

"I'm a Ph.D. in economics, and so you analyze every situation uniquely," he said.

Brat begins the fall campaign as a decided favorite in the race against Democratic rival Jack Trammell in a solidly Republican Richmond-area district.

His primary triumph was by far the biggest of the 2014 campaign season for tea party forces, although last week they forced veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran into a June 24 runoff and they hope state Sen. Chris McDaniel will achieve victory then.

Tuesday's outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, although at his age he has plenty of time to attempt a comeback.

The impact of Cantor's surprise loss on the fate of immigration legislation in the current Congress seemed clear. Conservatives will now be emboldened in their opposition to legislation to create a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, and party leaders who are sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try.

Cantor has compiled a solidly conservative voting record in his tenure, but he was sometimes viewed with suspicion by tea party activists who said he had been in Congress too long and was insufficiently committed to blocking immigration legislation. Many party officials argue that Republicans must temper their hard line on immigration if they are to compete effectively in future presidential elections.

Already on Wednesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential Democratic contender, said Cantor "was defeated by a candidate who basically ran against immigrants."

Democrats, underdogs in the struggle for control of the House this fall, sought to cast Cantor's defeat as evidence that the Republican Party and tea party groups were one.

"The Republican Party has been completely swallowed by the tea party. I mean, any debate over whether the tea party controls the Republican Party has ended," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic national chair, said on MSNBC.

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.






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honupono wrote:
Oh those crazy right wing republicans. Cantor wasn't conservative enough for his voters. Funny, considering he was known to be the most conservative House Rep.
on June 11,2014 | 07:25AM
krusha wrote:
Even the Pope would be too liberal for these Tea Party crazies.
on June 11,2014 | 12:18PM
false wrote:
Finally! Stop negotiating with the looney left... Period
on June 11,2014 | 08:06AM
false wrote:
Now take back the senate and give this country back the respect it deserves...
on June 11,2014 | 08:10AM
false wrote:
Now take back the senate...
on June 11,2014 | 08:20AM
false wrote:
How the heck was that sent for approval?!
on June 11,2014 | 08:21AM
false wrote:
What a Nazi publication
on June 11,2014 | 08:21AM
HanabataDays wrote:
'O ke alelo ka hoe uli o ka `olelo a ka waha.
on June 11,2014 | 08:44AM
HanabataDays wrote:
Who?
on June 11,2014 | 08:40AM
DemBones wrote:
"Don't let the door hit 'ya..."
on June 11,2014 | 09:04AM
honupono wrote:
Is the Tea Party gobbling up the republican party? Let's discuss the facts.
on June 11,2014 | 10:44AM
iwanaknow wrote:
So...............every vote counts................don't waste it.
on June 11,2014 | 11:06AM
false wrote:
Good riddance. Just another RINO who forgot why and who he represented in Washington. Bonner should be next. He is so spineless it is pathetic. He should stop drinking so maybe he can get a clue.
on June 11,2014 | 11:30AM
inHilo wrote:
Funny that he should forget since he just recently had a hand in redrawing the boundaries of his district, helping to make it even more conservative. Maybe that was his mistake.
on June 11,2014 | 04:09PM
honupono wrote:
I thought Cantor was Boehner's replacement for House Speaker? Why didn't he help Cantor?
on June 11,2014 | 01:11PM
headcheese wrote:
hoist by his own petard
on June 11,2014 | 06:39PM
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