Cantor Quitting House Early
Departing majority leader makes 'generous gesture'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2014 1:39 AM CDT
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., pauses during a news conference.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – Eric Cantor is out as House majority leader, and he's going to be out of the House sooner than expected as well. The congressman—who lost his GOP primary to Tea Party rival Dave Brat in a stunning upset —says he is quitting Congress effective Aug. 18 and will ask Virginia's governor to call a special election for his seat. "I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session," Cantor tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which notes that a special election will allow the winner to take office straight away instead of in January. "That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents," Cantor says.

His announcement came just hours after he gave his farewell speech as the House's No. 2 Republican, reports USA Today, which says the speech was filled with "gratitude and touches of humility" and almost had John Boehner in tears. He received a standing ovation from the chamber and was hugged by incoming majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, reports the Washington Post. Cantor, who says he hopes Brat will defeat his Democratic rival in the general election, made a "generous gesture" to his successor by quitting early, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia tells the Times-Dispatch. "At the same time, it's highly probable that he has a very lucrative deal in the works for his post-Congress life, and he's eager to get started," he adds. The House delayed its recess yesterday after Tea Partiers balked at a plan to address the immigration crisis.