U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is highly unlikely to quit his party leadership position after his primary defeat yesterday, according to a Republican familiar with his plans.
Cantor lost a Virginia congressional primary to Tea Party- backed candidate David Brat, a college professor who attacked the seven-term veteran lawmaker’s stance on immigration.
Cantor had been considered the front-runner to become the next speaker. With his defeat, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, the chamber’s third-ranking Republican and one of the Virginian’s closest allies, is expected to vie for the No. 2 job, one lawmaker said.
McCarthy didn’t address his own plans in a statement yesterday praising Cantor’s “graciousness and leadership.”
The upset left the party’s succession plans up in the air.
“I think that will resolve itself,” Representative Pete King, a New York Republican, said today of Cantor remaining majority leader through the November election. Without naming names, he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that he started getting e-mails from people campaigning for the job last night.
“The campaign has begun,” King said.
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