Fresh from relinquishing his House majority leader position in the wake of a stinging primary defeat, Rep. Eric Cantor now says he will give up his Virginia congressional seat months before his term expires, to make room for his replacement.
"[It] is with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from Congress, effective Aug. 18," Cantor, 51, said in a guest column in The Richmond Times-Dispatch. "During this time of transition for me and my family, it is my foremost desire to ensure that representation is maintained for the people of the 7th District. For this reason, I have asked Gov. McAuliffe to hold a special election on Election Day, at no additional cost to taxpayers, so my successor can be sworn in immediately in November."
Cantor, who lost to Tea Party-backed Dave Brat in a surprising June primary, tells the Dispatch that he wants "to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session of Congress."
Brat, who is heavily favored to win the special election in the conservative district, thanked Cantor for his seven terms and service to the state.
"The time one has to sacrifice to be an elected official is enormous, and he has sacrificed a great deal to serve the people. I also want to thank him for his endorsement. I wish Eric and his family the best in their future endeavors," Brat said in a statement, quoted by The Associated Press.