Eric Cantor to Step Down as House Majority Leader in July

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 11 2014 1:45 PM

Eric Cantor to Step Down as House Majority Leader in July

141667278-house-majority-leader-rep-eric-cantor-speaks-as-house
Eric Cantor did not expect to be sad today.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor—who was defeated in a shocking primary upset Tuesday night—will step down from his leadership position at the end of July, the Washington Post reports:

Mark Joseph Stern Mark Joseph Stern

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

Cantor’s decision – made just hours after he lost a primary contest to tea party-backed economist Dave Brat – comes as several senior Republicans began scrambling Wednesday to build support and fill the leadership vacuum.
With jockeying already underway, Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were expected to meet around midday. McCarthy, the next in line after Boehner and Cantor, is widely expected to run for majority leader, but he will have competition. Members of the Republican Study Committee — the caucus for the most conservative House Republicans — were also huddling to discuss the future.
Advertisement

Cantor's announcement will also put to rest speculation that he may attempt to run as a write-in candidate, à la Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski:* 

In addition to stepping down as majority leader, Cantor has decided not to run as a write-in candidate in November, according to two Republicans close to him. The Republicans were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal talks.

With Cantor's ouster, the GOP House leadership has been effectively thrown into chaos. Cantor was widely seen as a probable successor to current Speaker of the House John Boehner. Now, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is likely to try to ascend to second-in-command—but he'll face stiff competition from Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, the chairman of the influential House Rules Committee. The mourning period for Cantor's incumbency, it seems, is now over—and the race to grab his position has begun. 

*Correction, June 11, 2014: This post originally misspelled Lisa Murkowski's last name.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.