Cantor announces resignation, effective August 18

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August 1, 2014

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

The winner of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District election will need to clear his calendar because he will be heading to Washington earlier than expected. Rep. Eric Cantor announced that he will resign from the House of Representatives on August 18 to avoid a lame-duck session. He asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on November 4 so that the winner can take office immediately, rather than waiting to start in January with the 114th Congress.[1]

Cantor explained why he is stepping down saying, “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.”[1] Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said while Cantor is making a “generous gesture,” his motivation may not be purely altruistic. “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,” said Sabato.[1]

David Brat, who shocked the political world with his defeat of Cantor in the June 10, 2014, Republican primary, will face Jack Trammell (D) and Libertarian James Carr in the special election. Brat and Trammell are both professors at Randolph-Macon College. Cantor, who has been a supporter of Brat since he was defeated by him, said, “I hope he will win.”[1]

Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, called Brat's defeat of Cantor, "the political version of the San Francisco earthquake. It came out of nowhere."[2] Brat’s victory set off the following chain of events:

  • June 10, 2014: Brat defeated Cantor, making him the first-ever sitting House Majority Leader to lose a primary bid.
  • June 11, 2014: Cantor announced that he would step down as House Majority Leader.
  • July 31, 2014: Cantor officially resigned as House Majority Leader.

See also