Cantor To Officially Step Down As House Majority Leader On July 31, Backs McCarthy As Replacement

Rep. Eric Cantor said Wednesday that he will step down as House majority leader at the end of July, after losing a primary election Tuesday, igniting a short, spirited race to fill his post in a vote of the full House GOP next week.

Mr. Cantor lost to tea party-backed challenger David Brat in one of the biggest upsets in recent political history, quashing what had been a steady rise for the 51-year-old and dealing a blow to Virginia Republicans.

Republicans said they expect the House to tilt even more conservative in the wake of Mr. Cantor’s defeat because of the candidates hoping to replace him as majority leader and because of the lessons lawmakers will draw from the Virginia primary.

The contest to replace Mr. Cantor started just hours after the election results were called, with potential candidates reaching out to colleagues to gauge support.

Although Mr. Cantor held an outsized financial advantage, much of his campaign money went to radio and television attack ads, which Mr. Brat accepted as free publicity.

“He ran an air war,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It wasn’t about the money he spent, but how.”

“Would anybody argue he spent the money wisely based on the expenditures? No,” Mr. O’Connell said.

Mr. Cantor, in his remarks Tuesday evening and Wednesday, sounded simultaneously conciliatory, optimistic and grateful.

“He realized that he might not be done yet,” Mr. O’Connell said. “He can still run for governor. He could still run for a lot of things.”

Read more from By David Sherfinski and S.A. Miller at The Washington Times

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