Eric Cantor officially announced his plans to leave as House majority leader Wednesday afternoon, following his surprising defeat in Tuesday’s primary. He will remain in Congress until the end of his term.
Looking forward after his “personal setback,” he told reporters that he would support the man next in line in Republican leadership, House majority whip Kevin McCarthy, as his successor should McCarthy seek the spot.
“He’d make an outstanding majority leader, and I will be backing him with my full support,” he said. Others reportedly likely to vie for the majority-leader spot include Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions and Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, both of Texas.
Leaving the “political analysis to y’all,” the Virginia Republican refrained from discussing his primary race and instead emphasized the unity and shared goals of the Republican party. He insisted that that the policy differences between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party are minimal on several issue – including immigration.
Immigration policy, to many, was one of the key contributing factors to Cantor’s loss on Tuesday. But Cantor said he hoped Congress would work towards immigration reform, but with a piecemeal approach rather the comprehensive Democrat-backed Senate bill.