June 11, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) - Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor says he will step down as House majority leader on July 31. He plans to stay in Congress but not seek re-election.
Cantor announced his decision at a news conference Wednesday.
The Virginia Republican revealed his decision a day after his astonishing upset in a primary election by economics professor David Brat.
Cantor has been one of the most conservative GOP congressional leaders. Brat was scarcely known and far outspent by Cantor but had the support of tea party groups, who viewed Cantor as too willing to compromise.
Cantor had been widely seen as the likely eventual successor to House Speaker John Boehner.
Other lawmakers are already maneuvering to try succeeding Cantor as majority leader.
5th District Rep. Robert Hurt released the following statement:
“Tuesday night’s election was a reminder that in our representative democracy, elected offices inexorably belong to the people and not to office holders, and 7th District Republicans have chosen a new candidate to represent their views. With the announcement that Eric will step down as House Majority Leader, the Commonwealth suffers a significant loss. Eric’s leadership has been instrumental in building and growing the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, advancing on a positive, pro-growth agenda to get our economy moving, and holding the Obama administration at bay to prevent runaway spending and unchecked growth of the federal government. He inspired conservatives from all over the country – myself included – to run for office to put our country back on the right path.
"I thank Eric Cantor for his years of faithful service to the Commonwealth and the country, and I will miss his leadership and counsel. Eric and Diana are great friends and we wish them the best in their future endeavors. I congratulate David Brat on winning the Republican nomination and I look forward to doing all I can to help him win election in the fall."