Cantor to step down as leader

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorFeehery: The governing party 'Release the memo' — let's stop pretending that Democrats are the defenders of the FBI Raúl Labrador, a model for Hispanic politicians reaching higher MORE (R-Va.) will step down from his leadership position by July 31.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) confirmed the news to reporters at the Capitol.

"He's going to step down from his position," Issa said. He then added that the race to replace him had "already begun."
Cantor will formally announce the plan to the GOP conference at a 4 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, a day after a shocking primary defeat that has created turmoil in his party.

Cantor's decision to step down by the end of July sets up a frenzied campaign for would-be successors to replace him. House Republicans are already jockeying to replace Cantor, with several lawmakers talking to colleagues about possible moves.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 House Republican, is planning to run for Cantor’s second-ranking post, and Issa said he expected to Cantor to back him.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) is planning to challenge McCarthy. Sessions, the chairman of the House Rules Committee and a former GOP campaign chief, began making calls to colleagues after Cantor’s loss, seeking support.

Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) are expected to pursue McCarthy's postion.

And Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a favorite of conservatives, said Wednesday's he's been approached about running for leadership. Some see Hensarling as a possible contender for the House speakership.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a vocal conservative gunning to be chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told reporters he will support Hensarling for majority leader but did not know if he would run.

Cantor lost his primary to Tea Party-backed Dave Brat 56 percent to 44 percent.

First elected to Congress in 2000, Cantor decided not to run as a write-in candidate to try to save his seat.

The Washington Post first reported the news that Cantor would step down.

This story was updated at 1:42 p.m.