Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published August 1, 2014 at 5:43 AM | Page modified August 2, 2014 at 1:40 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Rep. Cantor to resign from House seat in August

After a stunning primary election loss, former Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that he will resign his seat in the House months earlier than expected.


Associated Press

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
On the other hand - if the goal is to become a well paid lobbyist, there is no time like the present! Wouldn't it be... MORE
So this conservative guy who hates government spending wants to burden his state with the cost of a special election.... MORE
"The time one has to sacrifice to be an elected official is enormous, and he has sacrificed a great deal to serve the... MORE

advertising

RICHMOND, Va. —

After a stunning primary election loss, former Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that he will resign his seat in the House months earlier than expected.

The congressman will step down Aug. 18 and has asked Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election to enable his successor to take office immediately, Cantor said in a statement, a day after stepping down from his leadership post.

"It has been the highest honor of my professional life to serve the people of Virginia's 7th District in Congress," Cantor said. "That is why it is with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from Congress."

The move -- first reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch -- came as a surprise, as the Republican had previously said he would serve out his term and try to help GOP candidates win elections this fall.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said Friday that the governor's office was reviewing the request for a special election.

According to House rules, Cantor's office will stay open and his staffers will be able to continue to handle constituent services under supervision of the House clerk.

Cantor, a major fundraiser with close ties to big business and Wall Street, did not say in his statement or a guest column in the newspaper what he plans to do after leaving Congress. He said only that he wants to advocate as a private citizen "for the conservative solutions to the problems we face that will secure our nation's greatness and provide a better life for all Americans."

Cantor said a special election on Nov. 4, the same day as the scheduled regular election, would give the winner seniority rather than waiting until January to take office with the new Congress. He also noted that special election on the same day as the scheduled general election would not cost taxpayers extra.

Cantor lost to Dave Brat, an underfunded, tea party-backed opponent, in the June Republican primary. The 7th District is heavily Republican and Brat is considered the early favorite against Democrat Jack Trammell.

"It is vitally important that the constituents have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame duck session of Congress," Cantor said. "I believe and hope that voice will be Dave Brat."

Brat, who was highly critical of Cantor during the primary campaign, thanked his former opponent for his endorsement.

"The time one has to sacrifice to be an elected official is enormous, and he has sacrificed a great deal to serve the people," Brat said in a statement Friday.

Cantor's resignation could force the candidates to devote some time during the campaign to preparing to take office immediately. Incoming congressman usually have more than two months to prepare to take office, including making staffing decisions.

Brat, who appeared caught off guard after defeating Cantor in June and spent several days after the election at home avoiding reporters, will be "ready to serve immediately," according to a spokesman.

"The campaign will move forward according to plan," campaign spokesman Brian Gottstein said.

Trammell, who has kept a low-key profile since Cantor's defeat, said through a spokeswoman that Cantor's announcement hasn't altered his campaign.

"Until I know more, this doesn't change my strategy," he said.

Cantor, 51, is a seven-term House veteran who before his defeat had been seen as a potential rival -- and likely successor -- to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Cantor appointed to his first leadership position in 2002, when he was named chief deputy whip of the party and became the highest-ranking Jewish Republican in Washington.

Though he had a conservative voting record, he was distrusted by some tea party supporters who suspected he might be too eager to reach compromise on immigration legislation.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times Historical Archives

Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►