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Washington is still reeling from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking loss last night during the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. In the wake of the surprise, it is being reported that Cantor will likely step down from the Majority Leader role for the remaining months of his term.
Leadership aides told The New York Times this afternoon that Cantor will step down from the No. 2 GOP position. Cantor, who was once expected to be House Speaker John Boehner’s successor, met with Republicans today and will have another meeting with more members of the party at 4 p.m.
Cantor has also decided that he will not try to mount a write-in campaign to retain his seat.
Cantor was defeated by David Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. The Tea Party candidate easily beat Cantor, winning 56 percent to 44 percent.
According to CNN, Brat argued that Cantor had lost sight of conservative principles. Brat’s main focus for his campaign was against Cantor’s approval of immigration policies that would lead to legal status for children or a kind of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. As Fox News notes, Cantor’s loss does put the immigration debate in limbo.
In the general election this fall, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, another Randolph-Macon professor. The district is overwhelmingly Republican though, so Brat is expected to win.