Cantor: GOP will expand majority

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday he is confident that Republicans will not just hold but will expand their majority in the lower chamber in November.

“I’m very bullish on the House,” Cantor said at an event in downtown Washington. “I am very confident that we will strengthen our majority.”

The second-ranking House Republican said he believes the GOP will be on offense in 30 to 40 districts with the goal of adding to its 242 House seats. His comments stand in contrast to those of many political analysts, who project that Democrats will gain seats in November but fall short of wresting back control of the House.

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Cantor gave high marks to the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, calling him “a true results-driven conservative.” Cantor endorsed Romney’s campaign last month, and he downplayed the lingering doubts about Romney that conservatives in his conference have expressed as recently as Tuesday. The House GOP conference, he said, was “excited” about coalescing around Romney as the nominee.

Cantor praised both his home-state governor, Bob McDonnell (R), and the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), as potential vice presidential picks. As for his own prospects for the GOP ticket, he said: “Eric Cantor is not interested at all in that.”

Cantor made the comments during a breakfast event held by Politico. In an awkward moment, the majority leader defended his decision to endorse and give financial support to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) in a primary battle with fellow GOP Rep. Don Manzullo (Ill.). Cantor repeatedly refused to discuss a report that Manzullo had angered him by making an anti-Semitic remark years back, though he made an indirect reference to “the darker side” of American politics.