House Majority Leader Eric Cantor made his first public appearance since resigning from his leadership post last week, telling about 300 congregants at a synagogue in New York on Saturday that he was "optimistic for the future."
"The true test for all of us is to endure and remember our higher calling, not only as Americans but as Jews," said Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives.
He spoke about his faith for about 10 minutes at Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, on Long Island, Newsday reports
Cantor announced his resignation after his defeat on Tuesday by David Brat, a political novice and economics professor backed by the tea party, in the Virginia Republican primary. He had outspent Brat's campaign nearly 10-1 in the losing effort.
He did not directly mention his loss in his remarks, according to Newsday.
Cantor, who has represented the Richmond area since 2001, later attended a fundraiser that brought in more than $100,000 for another Jewish Republican seeking a House seat, New York state Sen. Lee Zeldin.
The event, with tickets ranging from $500 to $5,200, was held at the estate of Jerry Levin, the former chairman of Revlon, Burger King and Sharper Image, according to Newsday.
Cantor spent about 90 minutes discussing domestic and foreign policy at the event.
Zeldin faces a June 24 GOP primary against George Demos, a former attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission who also is Jewish, Newsday reports.
Meanwhile, The Hill reported on Saturday
that when Cantor leaves Congress, he will leave a wealthy man.
Cantor became about $1.5 million richer last year — and now has a minimum net worth of $5.4 million, according to financial disclosures, the Hill said.
Most of his wealth comes from stocks, retirement accounts, and other investment funds — with one of his top investments being the Domino's pizza chain, the Hill reports.
His wife, Diana, is on Domino’s board of directors, and the company's stock has risen strongly since 2011.
Their Domino's stake was worth at least $1.25 million last year, up about $650,000 from the previous year, according to the Hill.
Diana Cantor is a partner with Alternative Investment Management, a New York-based firm that primarily invests in hedge funds. She also is a board member of Revlon, Universal Corp., and Media General Inc., which owns two Virginia television stations.
In addition, Cantor's wealth rose last year because he paid off a mortgage on rental property in Arlington, Va., that was valued at $250,001 and $500,000, the Hill reports.
The couple also hold mortgages on two "personal residences" — in Arlington and in Glen Allen, Va., which is in Cantor’s district. Those loans deduct about $750,000 from Cantor's minimum net worth, the Hill reports.
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