WASHINGTON — Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., whose last day as House majority leader was Thursday, said Friday that he would resign his seat effective Aug. 18 in hopes that his successor will be able to participate in the lame-duck session after the November elections.
Cantor, 51, made the announcement in an op-ed article published on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website.
He lost the Republican primary in his northern Virginia district in June to David Brat, a little-known and more conservative candidate with tea party backing. The results shocked Washington and led to a shakeup in the House leadership after Cantor said he would resign as the No. 2 House Republican.
But the news that he would give up his seat early was a surprise.
"It is vitally important that the constituents have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame-duck session of Congress," Cantor wrote in the Times-Dispatch. "The issues that will be considered during the lame-duck session this year will be crucial to the future of our country."
Cantor, who has served in the House for 14 years, said he would ask Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his seat on Nov. 4, the same day as the general election.