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Eric Cantor resigning from House leadership on July 31

Chuck Schumer: 'Eric Cantor Was Never The Solution On Immigration'

By DAVID ESPO

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Repudiated at the polls, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor intends to resign his leadership post at the end of next month, officials said Wednesday, clearing the way for a potentially disruptive Republican shake-up just before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake.

Cantor was expected to announce his plans at a late-afternoon meeting of the party's rank and file, less than 24 hours after the Virginia Republican lost a primary election to David Brat, a little-known and underfunded rival backed by tea party groups.

Before the announcement, jockeying already had broken out among fellow Republicans eager to move up the House leadership ladder - or establish a foothold on it.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the party whip and third-ranking leader, informed fellow Republicans he intended to run to succeed Cantor, and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas also made clear his interest.

Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, the chief deputy whip, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana quickly jumped into the expected race to succeed McCarthy.

Cantor's office declined to confirm his decision, which was reported by numerous Republican aides as well as lobbyists who said they had been informed of the plans. His intention was to declare his decision to step down from the leadership on July 31.

One Republican said he feared the effects of Cantor's defeat could be debilitating for the party and the government.

Interviewed on MSNBC, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he was worried that Cantor's stunning loss may lead to even more congressional gridlock. Asked if he thought immigration legislation was dead, he 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."

The resignation would mark a swift end to a quick rise to power for Cantor, 51, who was elected to Congress in 2000, was appointed to the leadership two years later, and then rose steadily to become the second-most powerful Republican in the House. In that post, he was the most powerful Jewish Republican in Congress, and occasionally was seen as a potential rival to Speaker John Boehner but more often as a likely successor.

He was defeated Tuesday by primary rival David Brat, an economics professor making his first run for office in an underfunded campaign that benefited from the support of tea party groups.

Brat campaigned as a foe of immigration legislation, and said Cantor was likely to help immigrants living in the United States illegally gain amnesty if given a new term in the House.

Interviewed on MSNBC, Brat declined to spell out any policy specifics.

"I'm a Ph.D. in economics, and so you analyze every situation uniquely," he said.

Brat begins the fall campaign as a decided favorite in the race against Democratic rival Jack Trammell in a solidly Republican Richmond-area district.

His primary triumph 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 they hope state Sen. Chris McDaniel will achieve victory then.

Tuesday's outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, although at his age he has plenty of time to attempt a comeback.

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

Cantor has compiled a solidly conservative voting record in his tenure, but he was sometimes viewed with suspicion by tea party activists who said he had been in Congress too long and was insufficiently committed to blocking immigration legislation. Many party officials argue that Republicans must temper their hard line on immigration if they are to compete effectively in future presidential elections.

Already on Wednesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential Democratic contender, said Cantor "was defeated by a candidate who basically ran against immigrants."

Democrats, underdogs in the struggle for control of the House this fall, sought to cast Cantor's defeat as evidence that the Republican Party and tea party groups were one.

"The Republican Party has been completely swallowed by the tea party. I mean, any debate over whether the tea party controls the Republican Party has ended," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic national chair, said on MSNBC.

---

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.



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usabarb4u June 11 2014 at 3:15 PM

If the Tea Party rules the GOP then who will work for AMERICANS? The DEMOCRATS that's who! VOTE DEMOCRAT!

Flag Reply +46 rate up
32 replies
mrpixter June 11 2014 at 3:15 PM

As if the shrinking base of the Republican Party (dying off) isn't tell tale enough, now the party is beginning to eat its own. Last one standing, please jiggle the handle when flushing the last remnants of the party down the toilet.

Flag Reply +33 rate up
9 replies
stipe1280 June 11 2014 at 3:24 PM

Another Rino bites the dust...good riddance.

Flag Reply +32 rate up
8 replies
allstarcaps June 11 2014 at 3:24 PM

For Virginian's Cantor was a corporate sell out...now he's gone - at least the people of VA had the balls to buck the system! 49 States in the Union left, then it's on to clean out DC!!!

Flag Reply +32 rate up
7 replies
liemc June 11 2014 at 3:34 PM

So how has that Democrats working for Americans worked out for you so far? 8% unemployment. 0.1% GDP, highest National Debt in history, highest energy prices in history, highest food prices in history, lowest per capita income since the great depression, unchecked illegal immigration, still in Afghanistan, Russia running rough shod over Eastern Europe, & so on & so on. Yep really wonderful under these Democrats.

Flag Reply +29 rate up
24 replies
Fred June 11 2014 at 3:14 PM

How funny. It's to late for alot of them to wake up. Come voting time it's time to oust these dead beats.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
pdubpablo June 11 2014 at 3:17 PM

and the GOP inhouse fighting continues.....Washington is like an Adam Sandler movie

Flag Reply +10 rate up
3 replies
ROB SYKES June 11 2014 at 3:36 PM

Damm, five million just dosen't buy what it used to...

Flag Reply +9 rate up
1 reply
jewellings ROB SYKES June 11 2014 at 5:22 PM

Replying to Rob Sykes;
So very true. Money cannot buy everything. This moron finally found out how many people truly despise him. He need to realize the fact that he is incompetent and could not hold such a position.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
wajguy June 11 2014 at 3:18 PM

BYE HEHEHEHEHEHEHE

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
kdmerida wajguy June 11 2014 at 3:52 PM

Some of them milking the lobbists. Wasting taxpayer diime and could care less for the people. Just feather their own nest. BOTH PARTIES!!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
you sweet thing kdmerida June 11 2014 at 4:36 PM

At least the republicans are ousting the deadbeats and paid for cronies in Washington. It's a new day for America, starting now.

Flag +4 rate up
bob.obee June 11 2014 at 3:28 PM

'historic primary defeat'? How about Obama over Clinton.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
Linda bob.obee June 11 2014 at 4:09 PM

The men will always come first, no matter what the ancestry---so Obama defeating Clinton is a moot point...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
bob.obee Linda June 11 2014 at 4:27 PM

? Great response regarding nothing, milktoast.

Flag 0 rate up
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