The announcement came just a day after Eric Cantor stepped down as House Majority Leader. For many, Cantor was in line to replace John Boehner but as Speaker of the House, but in order to do that you must win your seat. Cantor was beaten by Dave Brat, an underfunded, tea party-backed opponent after his 7th District (Virginia) constituents viewed the incumbent as too soft on immigration. In the heavily Republican district, it’s almost a given that Brat will triumph over Democrat Democrat Jack Trammell.
Eric Cantor: Calls for special election
“It has been the highest honor of my professional life to serve the people of Virginia’s 7th District in Congress,” Cantor said in a statement. “That is why it is with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from Congress.” Cantor has also asked Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election to enable his successor to take office immediately.
“It is vitally important that the constituents have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame duck session of Congress,” Cantor said somewhat magnanimously. “I believe and hope that voice will be Dave Brat.”
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said Friday morning that the governor’s office was reviewing the request for a special election. Eric Cantor believes that a Nov. 4th election would be ideal and allow his successor to take office immediately and enjoy a touch more seniority compared to the incoming freshman class that will be elected on Nov. 4th around the nation but won’t be sworn in until January. Additionally, Cantor points out that it wouldn’t cost taxpayers additional money as that day is already a general election day.
Eric Cantor, who is a major fundraiser with ties to Wall Street and big business, was expected to help fellow Republicans fund raise for awhile so today’s news comes as a bit of a shock. He has remained coy over what his future holds but has said that he hopes as a private citizen to advocate “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 was elected to seven terms including the one he is cutting short, and was first elected to a leadership position in 2002.