House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to quit leadership post in Jul - FOX 35 News Orlando

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to quit leadership post in July after primary defeat

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

GOP jockeying in the House after Cantor's defeat

By DAVID ESPO

AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Anticipating a swift shake-up in their leadership, House Republicans jockeyed for position on Wednesday after Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary defeat to an underfunded and unknown political newcomer.

On the morning after his loss to David Brat, an economics professor supported by the tea party, there was quiet pressure on Cantor to step down from his post as the Republicans' second-ranking leader. He gave no public signal that he was considering doing so, although a meeting of the rank and file was set for late afternoon.

Others did not wait for him to make his intentions known.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was informing fellow Republicans he intended to run to succeed Cantor, officials said, and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas also signaled an interest.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was hoping to replace McCarthy in his current spot, officials said.

The maneuvering took place as Brat celebrated his triumph over Cantor in an upset that shocked the party establishment and handed tea party forces their largest victory of the primary season.

"This is a miracle from God," Brat said Tuesday night, in an appearance before supporters.

But as he looked ahead to November's elections, he declined to spell out policy specifics.

"I'm a Ph.D. in economics, and so you analyze every situation uniquely," he told MSNBC in an interview in which he said he preferred to keep the focus on the "celebratory issues" of Tuesday's results.

His allies sounded more than pleased. "The grassroots is in revolt and marching," said L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of ForAmerica.

The victory 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 hope State Sen. Chris McDaniel will achieve victory then.

Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

The outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, although at 51 he has plenty of time to attempt a future comeback. Aides did not respond Tuesday night when asked if the majority leader would run a write-in campaign in the fall.

But the impact of Cantor's surprise loss on the fate of immigration legislation in the current Congress seemed clearer still. 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 more sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try.

Many Republicans say the party can ill afford to stick to an uncompromising stand on the issue, given the increasing political influence of Hispanic voters.

And a Democrat, Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, put it even more bluntly.

"For Republicans in the House, my sense is they are now squeezed between doing things the tea party way or doing things the American way," he said in an appearance Wednesday morning on MSNBC.

Appearing on the same network, Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said he was worried that the message from Cantor's stunning loss may be even more congressional gridlock. Asked if he thought immigration legislation was dead, King 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."

Cantor had been tugged by two warring forces in his party and in recent weeks sought to emphasize his opposition to far-reaching immigration legislation as Brat's challenge gained force. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.

Still, neither he nor other House leaders betrayed any serious concern that his tenure was in danger, and his allies leaked a private poll in recent days that claimed he had a comfortable lead over Brat.

In the end, despite help from establishment groups, Cantor's repudiation was complete in an area that first sent him to Congress in 2000.

With votes counted in 99 percent of the precincts, 64,418 votes were cast, roughly a 37 percent increase over two years ago.

Despite that, Cantor polled fewer votes than he did in 2012 -- 28,631 this time, compared with 37,369 then.

In the fall, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammel, also a professor at Randolph-Macon, in the solidly Republican district.

It was unclear if Cantor intended to remain in his leadership post for the duration of the year or who might replace him in the new Congress if Republicans hold their majority.

Democrats seized on the upset as evidence that their fight for House control this fall is far from over.

"Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans' extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises. Tonight, is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right," said the Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. "As far as the midterm elections are concerned, it's a whole new ballgame."

Cantor was 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. It was a recognition of his fundraising skills as well as his conservative voting record at a time Republican leaders were eager to tap into Jewish donors for their campaigns. Since Boehner became speaker in 2009, Cantor has been seen as both a likely eventual successor and at times a potential rival.

------

Associated Press writers David Pace and Erica Werner in Washington and Alan Suderman, Larry O'Dell, Steve Szkotak and Michael Felberbaum in Richmond contributed to this report.

2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Tea party rejoicing at Cantor's defeat

By DAVID ESPO

AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican tea party forces are rejoicing and the party establishment is somber or altogether silent in the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat at the hands of political neophyte David Brat, an unflinching foe of loosening immigration laws.

Speaker John Boehner praised Cantor as "a good friend and a great leader, and someone I've come to rely upon on a daily basis" in a statement that steered clear of the issue that Brat put at the center of his campaign and has divided the party for years. Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the head of the House GOP campaign committee, both kept their silence Tuesday night after his shocking loss at the hands of an underfunded challenger who warned the seven-term incumbent would line up for amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally.

Cantor himself conceded defeat, telling downcast supporters, "Obviously we came up short."

Brat and his supporters in the ranks of the tea party were triumphant.

"This is a miracle from God," said the economics professor, who toppled the second-most powerful Republican in the House in an upset that few, if any, in the party's high command saw coming.

His allies sounded more than pleased. "The grassroots is in revolt and marching," said L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of ForAmerica.

The victory 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 hope State Sen. Chris McDaniel will achieve victory then.

Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

The outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, although at 51 he has plenty of time to attempt a future comeback. Aides did not respond Tuesday night when asked if the majority leader would run a write-in campaign in the fall.

But the impact of Cantor's surprise loss on the fate of immigration legislation in the current Congress seemed clearer still. 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 more sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try.

Many Republicans say the party can ill afford to stick to an uncompromising stand on the issue, given the increasing political influence of Hispanic voters.

The majority leader had been tugged by two warring forces in his party and in recent weeks sought to emphasize his opposition to far-reaching immigration legislation as Brat's challenge gained force. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.

Still, neither he nor other House leaders betrayed any serious concern that his tenure was in danger, and his allies leaked a private poll in recent days that claimed he had a comfortable lead over Brat.

In the end, despite help from establishment groups, Cantor's repudiation was complete in an area that first sent him to Congress in 2000.

With votes counted in 99 percent of the precincts, 64,418 votes were cast, roughly a 37 percent increase over two years ago.

Despite that, Cantor polled fewer votes than he did in 2012 -- 28,631 this time, compared with 37,369 then.

In the fall, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammel, also a professor at Randolph-Macon, in the solidly Republican district.

It was unclear if Cantor intended to remain in his leadership post for the duration of the year or who might replace him in the new Congress if Republicans hold their majority.

Democrats seized on the upset as evidence that their fight for House control this fall is far from over.

"Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans' extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises. Tonight, is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right," said the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California. "As far as the midterm elections are concerned, it's a whole new ballgame."

Cantor was 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. It was a recognition of his fundraising skills as well as his conservative voting record at a time Republican leaders were eager to tap into Jewish donors for their campaigns. Since Boehner became speaker in 2009, Cantor has been seen as both a likely eventual successor and at times a potential rival.

------

Associated Press writers David Pace and Erica Werner in Washington and Alan Suderman, Larry O'Dell, Steve Szkotak and Michael Felberbaum in Richmond contributed to this report.

2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


By ALAN SUDERMAN and DAVID ESPO
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — In an upset for the ages, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-most powerful man in the House, was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger carried to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.

"This is a miracle from God that just happened," exulted David Brat, an economics professor, as his victory became clear in the congressional district around Virginia's capital city.

Speaking to downcast supporters, Cantor conceded, "Obviously we came up short" in a bid for renomination to an eighth term.

CLICK HERE to view Virginia Primary Election Results

The victory 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 hope state Sen. Chris McDaniel can prevail then.

Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

The outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, and aides did not respond Tuesday night when asked if the majority leader, 51, would run a write-in campaign in the fall.

But its impact on the fate of immigration legislation in the current Congress seemed clearer still. 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 more sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try.

The majority leader had been tugged by two warring forces in his party and in recent weeks sought to emphasize his opposition to far-reaching immigration legislation as Brat's challenge gained force. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.

Still, neither he nor other House leaders betrayed any serious concern that his tenure was in danger, and his allies leaked a private poll in recent days that claimed he had a comfortable lead over Brat.

In the end, despite help from establishment groups, Cantor's repudiation was complete in an area that first sent him to Congress in 2000.

With votes counted in 99 percent of the precincts, 64,418 votes were cast, roughly a 37 percent increase over two years ago.

Despite that, Cantor polled fewer votes than he did in 2012 — 28,631 this time, compared with 37,369 then.

House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement hailing Cantor as "a good friend and a great leader, and someone I've come to rely upon on a daily basis as we make the tough choices that come with governing."

It was unclear if Cantor intended to remain in his leadership post for the duration of the year, and who might replace him in the new Congress if Republicans hold their majority.

Democrats seized on the upset as evidence that their fight for House control this fall is far from over.

"Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans' extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises. Tonight, is a major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right," said the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California. "As far as the midterm elections are concerned, it's a whole new ballgame."

Cantor was 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. It was a recognition of his fundraising skills as well as his conservative voting record at a time Republican leaders were eager to tap into Jewish donors for their campaigns. Since Boehner became speaker in 2009, Cantor has been seen as both a likely eventual successor and at times a potential rival.

Jay S. Poole, a Cantor volunteer, said Brat tapped into widespread frustration among voters about the gridlock in Washington and issues such as immigration. "I can't tell you how amazing this is to me," Poole said.

Much of the campaign centered on immigration, where critics on both sides of the debate have recently taken aim at Cantor. Brat accused him of being a top cheerleader for "amnesty" for immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally. Cantor responded forcefully by boasting in mailers of blocking Senate plans "to give illegal aliens amnesty."

It was a change in tone for Cantor, who has repeatedly voiced support for giving citizenship to certain immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. Cantor and House GOP leaders have advocated a step-by-step approach, rather than the comprehensive bill backed by the Senate — but were persistently vague on the details.

Brat teaches at Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school north of Richmond. He raised just over $200,000 for his campaign, while Cantor spent more than $1 million in April and May alone to try to beat back his challenge.

Washington-based groups also spent heavily in the race. The American Chemistry Council, whose members include many blue chip companies, spent more than $300,000 on TV ads promoting Cantor in the group's only independent expenditure so far this election year. Political arms of the American College of Radiology, the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Realtors also spent money on ads to promote Cantor.

Brat offset the cash disadvantage with endorsements from conservative activists like radio host Laura Ingraham and with help from local tea party activists angry at Cantor.

In the fall, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammel, also a professor at Randolph-Macon, in the solidly Republican district.

___

Associated Press writers David Pace and Erica Werner in Washington and Larry O'Dell, Steve Szkotak and Michael Felberbaum in Richmond contributed to this report. Espo reported from Washington.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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