Share

POLITICS: PennAve

Seven things you should know about Eric Cantor

By and |
Politics,Congress,Virginia,Tea Party,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Eric Cantor,Minusextra,Ryan Teague Beckwith,Dave Brat

Although he is well-known in Washington, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is probably not a household name in much of the country.

It will be soon, though. The Virginia Republican's out-of-the-blue loss to Tea Party-backed primary challenger Dave Brat on Tuesday has shaken much of the political world and could have national implications.

Here are a few things to know about Cantor as this story unfolds.

1. He has a pretty important job. Cantor serves as House majority leader, the No. 2 leadership position in the House, second to only to Speaker John Boehner. The majority leader controls the House schedule, which bills come to the House floor for debate and votes and their order.

2. He was expected to make history one day. Cantor was widely expected to make a bid for speaker, a position chosen by members of the majority. The only Jewish Republican in the House, he would have been the first Jewish person to have that job.

3. He took a middle path on immigration. Cantor faced attacks from the right and Brat, as well as from the left, for supporting an immigration compromise that would allow young illegal immigrants to gain legal status but leave their parents' situations unclear.

4. His district is pretty politically aware. Cantor represents the northern and western sections of Richmond, Virginia's state capital, as well as portions of the Shenandoah Valley. The district is also not far from Washington, D.C., one advantage Cantor had in seeking a leadership job.

5. He didn't see this coming. In fact, few people did. As late as Tuesday morning, the Washington Post was saying the question was whether he'd win by 10 or 20 points. An internal poll shared with reporters recently showed him with a 34-point lead over Brat.

6. He was first elected after a narrow primary victory. Cantor's mentor was Rep. Tom Bliley, whose political machine was widely credited with giving Cantor the edge in his razor-thin primary victory during his first campaign for Congress in 2000.

7. His quick downfall follows a fast rise. In late 2002, then-House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. who now serves in the Senate, stunned colleagues by tapping Cantor to be his chief deputy during Cantor's first term in the House.

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner
Author:

Ryan Teague Beckwith

News Editor
The Washington Examiner