Eric Cantor

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Eric Cantor
Eric Cantor, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpg
House Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 2011 – August 1, 2014
DeputyKevin McCarthy
Preceded bySteny Hoyer
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
House Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
LeaderJohn Boehner
Preceded byRoy Blunt
Succeeded bySteny Hoyer
House Chief Deputy Whip
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
LeaderTom DeLay
Roy Blunt (Acting)
John Boehner
Preceded byRoy Blunt
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – August 18, 2014
Preceded byThomas Bliley
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 73rd district
In office
January 8, 1992 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byWalter Stosch
Succeeded byJohn O'Bannon
Personal details
BornEric Ivan Cantor
(1963-06-06) June 6, 1963 (age 51)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Diana Fine
ChildrenEvan
Jenna
Michael
ResidenceGlen Allen, Virginia
Alma materGeorge Washington University (B.A.)
William & Mary Law School (J.D.)
Columbia University (M.Sc.)
ReligionJudaism
WebsiteGovernment website
Party website
 
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Eric Cantor
Eric Cantor, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpg
House Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 2011 – August 1, 2014
DeputyKevin McCarthy
Preceded bySteny Hoyer
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
House Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
LeaderJohn Boehner
Preceded byRoy Blunt
Succeeded bySteny Hoyer
House Chief Deputy Whip
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
LeaderTom DeLay
Roy Blunt (Acting)
John Boehner
Preceded byRoy Blunt
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – August 18, 2014
Preceded byThomas Bliley
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 73rd district
In office
January 8, 1992 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byWalter Stosch
Succeeded byJohn O'Bannon
Personal details
BornEric Ivan Cantor
(1963-06-06) June 6, 1963 (age 51)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Diana Fine
ChildrenEvan
Jenna
Michael
ResidenceGlen Allen, Virginia
Alma materGeorge Washington University (B.A.)
William & Mary Law School (J.D.)
Columbia University (M.Sc.)
ReligionJudaism
WebsiteGovernment website
Party website

Eric Ivan Cantor (born June 6, 1963) is a former United States Representative for Virginia's 7th congressional district, serving from 2001 to 2014. A member of the Republican Party, he became House Majority Leader when the 112th Congress convened on January 3, 2011. He previously served as House Minority Whip from 2009 to 2011.

His district included most of the northern and western sections of Richmond, along with most of Richmond's western suburbs and portions of the Shenandoah Valley. Cantor is the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress in its history, and at the time of his resignation, the only non-Christian Republican in either house.[1][2]

In June 2014, in his bid for re-election, Cantor lost the Republican primary to economics professor Dave Brat in an upset that surprised political analysts. In response Cantor announced his early resignation as House Majority Leader, and several weeks later, he announced his resignation from Congress, which took effect August 18, 2014. Immediately thereafter, Cantor accepted a position as vice chairman of investment bank Moelis & Company at a compensation of $3.4 million.[3] As the US House majority leader, Cantor earned an annual salary of $193,400.[4]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Cantor, the second of three children, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Mary Lee (née Hudes), a schoolteacher, and Eddie Cantor, who owned a real estate firm. His family emigrated from Eastern Europe (Russia, Romania, and Latvia) in the late 1800s and early 1900s.[5][6] His father was the state treasurer for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.[7] Cantor was raised in Conservative Judaism.[5] He graduated from the Collegiate School, a co-ed private school in Richmond, in 1981. He enrolled at George Washington University (GW) in 1981, and as a freshman he worked as an intern for House Republican Tom Bliley of Virginia and was Bliley's driver in the 1982 campaign.[8] Cantor was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity while at GW and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1985.[9] He earned a Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School in 1988, and received a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from Columbia University in 1989.[10]

Cantor worked for over a decade with his father's business doing legal work and real estate development.

Virginia House of Delegates[edit]

Cantor served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992–January 1, 2001.[10] At various times he was a member of committees on Science and Technology, Corporation Insurance and Banking, General Laws, Courts of Justice, (co-chairman) Claims.[11][12] Cantor announced on March 14, 2000 that he would seek the seat in the United States House of Representatives that was being vacated by Tom Bliley. Cantor had chaired Bliley's reelection campaigns for the previous six years, and immediately gained the support of Bliley's political organization, as well as Bliley's endorsement later in the primary.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

During his first term, Cantor was chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. He has also served on the House Financial Services Committee and on the House International Relations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

Party leadership[edit]

In 2002–only a few weeks after winning a second term–Roy Blunt appointed Cantor Chief Deputy Republican Whip, the highest appointed position in the Republican caucus.[14]

Cantor and other House and Senate leaders meeting with President Barack Obama in November 2010.

On November 19, 2008, Cantor was unanimously elected Republican Whip for the 111th Congress, after serving as Deputy Whip for six years under Blunt. Blunt had decided not to seek reelection to the post after Republican losses in the previous two elections. Cantor was the first member of either party from Virginia to hold the position of Party Whip. As Whip, Cantor was the second-ranking House Republican, behind Minority Leader John Boehner. He was charged with coordinating the votes and messages of Republican House members.[1][14] Cantor became the Majority Leader when the 112th Congress took office on January 3, 2011.[15] He was the second-ranking Republican in the House behind Speaker Boehner, who is considered the leader of the House Republicans.

Cantor is a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Republican National Committee. He is one of the Republican Party's top fundraisers, having raised over $30 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).[16] He is also one of the three founding members of the GOP Young Guns Program. In the fall of 2010, Cantor wrote a New York Times bestselling book, Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders, with the other two founding members of Young Guns.[17] They describe the vision outlined in the book as "a clear agenda based on common sense for the common good".[18] Cantor said in 2010 that he worked with the Tea Party movement in his district.[19]

As House Majority Leader, Cantor was named in House Resolution 368, which was passed by the House Rules Committee on the night of September 30, 2013, the night before the October 2013 government shutdown began, as the only member of the House with the power to bring forth bills and resolutions for a vote if both chambers of Congress disagree on that bill or resolution. Prior to the resolution's passing in committee, it was within the power of every member of the House under House Rule XXII, Clause 4 to be granted privilege to call for a vote. This amendment to the House rules was blamed for causing the partial government shutdown and for prolonging it since Cantor refused to allow the Senate's continuing resolution to be voted on in the House. Journalists and commentators noted during the shutdown that if the Senate's version of the continuing resolution were to be voted on, it would have passed the House with a majority vote since enough Democrats and Republicans supported it, effectively ending the government shutdown.[20][21][22]

Legislation[edit]

Cantor was a strong supporter of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which he was the one to name in Gabriella Miller's honor.[23] The bill, which passed in both the House and the Senate, would end taxpayer contributions to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and divert the money in that fund to pay for research into pediatric cancer through the National Institutes of Health.[23][24] The total funding for research would come to $126 million over 10 years.[23][24] As of 2014, the national conventions got about 23% of their funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.[25] Cantor said that the bill "clearly reflects Congressional priorities in funding: medical research before political parties and conventions".[23]

Political positions[edit]

For much of his career in the House, Cantor was the only Jewish Republican in the United States Congress.[1][10][26] He supports strong United States-Israel relations.[9][10] He cosponsored legislation to cut off all U.S. taxpayer aid to the Palestinian Authority and another bill calling for an end to taxpayer aid to the Palestinians until they stop unauthorized excavations on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[27] Responding to a claim by the State Department that the United States provides no direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, Cantor claimed that United States sends about US$75 million in aid annually to the Palestinian Authority, which is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He opposed a Congressionally approved three-year package of US$400 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority in 2000 and has also introduced legislation to end aid to Palestinians.[28]

In May 2008, Cantor said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a "constant sore" but rather "a constant reminder of the greatness of America",[29] and following Barack Obama's election as President in November 2008, Cantor stated that a “stronger U.S.-Israel relationship” remains a top priority for him and that he would be “very outspoken” if Obama "did anything to undermine those ties."[1][30] Shortly after the 2010 midterm elections, Cantor met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, just before Netanyahu was to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to Cantor's office, he "stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration" and "made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States."[31] Cantor was criticized for engaging in foreign policy;[32] one basis for the criticism was that in 2007, after Nancy Pelosi met with the President of Syria, Cantor himself had raised the possibility "that her recent diplomatic overtures ran afoul of the Logan Act, which makes it a felony for any American 'without authority of the United States' to communicate with a foreign government to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States."[33]

Social issues[edit]

Cantor opposes public funding of embryonic stem cell research and opposes elective abortion. He is rated 100% by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and 0% by NARAL Pro-Choice America, indicating a pro-life voting record. He is also opposed to same-sex marriage, voting to Constitutionally define marriage as between a male and a female in 2006. In November 2007 he voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. He also supports making flag burning illegal. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rated him 19% in 2006, indicating an anti-affirmative action voting record. He is opposed to gun control, voting to ban product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers in 2005, and he voted not to require gun registration and trigger-lock laws in the District of Columbia. He has a rating of "A" from the National Rifle Association (NRA).[34] On Nov. 2, 2010, Cantor told Wolf Blitzer of CNN that he would try to trim the federal deficit by reducing welfare.

Economy, budgeting, and trade[edit]

Cantor is a supporter of free trade, voting to promote trade with Peru, Chile, Singapore, and Australia. He also voted for the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). He voted against raising the minimum wage to US$7.25 in 2007. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest federation of trade unions in the United States, rates Cantor 0%, indicating an anti-Union voting record.

In October 2008, Cantor advocated and voted for the TARP program which aided distressed banks.[35]

On September 29, 2008 Cantor blamed Pelosi for what he felt was the failure of the $700 billion economic bailout bill. He noted that 94 Democrats voted against the measure, as well as 133 Republicans.[36] Though supporting the Federal bailout of the nation's largest private banks, he referred to Pelosi's proposal to appoint a Car czar to run the U.S. Automobile Industry Bailout as a "bureaucratic" imposition on private business.[37]

The following February, Cantor led Republicans in the House of Representatives in voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[38] and was a prominent spokesman in voicing the many issues he and his fellow Republicans had with the legislation. Cantor voted in favor of a 90% marginal tax rate increase on taxpayer financed bonuses,[39] despite receiving campaign contributions from TARP recipient Citigroup.[40]

In his book Young Guns, Cantor summarized Keynesian economics with the following opinion, "The idea is that the government can be counted on to spend more wisely than the people."[41]

As Majority Leader, Cantor steered the STOCK Act through the House, which requires Congressmen to disclose their stock investments more regularly and in a more transparent manner.[42] The legislation passed the House in a 417-2 bipartisan vote on February 9, 2012. It was ultimately signed by President Obama on April 4, 2012.[43] In July 2012, CNN reported that changes made by the House version of the legislation excluded reporting requirements by spouses and dependent children. Initially, Cantor's office insisted it did nothing to change the intent of the STOCK Act; however, when presented with new information from CNN, the Majority Leader's office recognized that changes had unintentionally been made and offered technical corrections to fulfill the original intent of the legislation.[44] These corrections were passed by Congress on August 3, 2012.[45]

As Majority Leader, Cantor shepherded the JOBS Act through the House, which combined bipartisan ideas for economic growth - like crowdfunding for startups - into one piece of legislation. Ultimately, President Obama, Eric Cantor, Steve Case and other leaders joined together at the signing ceremony.[46]

Cantor has proposed initiatives which purport to help small businesses grow, including a 20 percent tax cut for businesses that employ fewer than 500 people.[47]

Other foreign affairs[edit]

In an article he wrote for the National Review in 2007, he condemned Nancy Pelosi's diplomatic visit to Syria, and her subsequent meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, whom he referred to as a "dictator and terror-sponsor"; saying that if "Speaker Pelosi’s diplomatic foray into Syria weren’t so harmful to U.S. interests in the Middle East, it would have been laughable."[48]

Political campaigns[edit]

Cantor formerly represented Virginia's 7th congressional district, which stretches from the western end of Richmond, through its suburbs, and northward to Page, Rappahannock Culpeper and parts of Spotsylvania, county. It also includes the towns of Mechanicsville and Laurel. The district is strongly Republican; it has been in Republican hands since 1981 (it was numbered as the 3rd District prior to 1993).[49]

1991

Cantor was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates 73rd district unopposed.[citation needed]

1993

Cantor was opposed by Independent Reed Halstead in his re-election campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates. Cantor won 79.26% of the vote while Halstead won 20.66%.[citation needed]

1995

Cantor was unopposed for re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.[citation needed]

1997

Cantor was unopposed for re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.[citation needed]

1999

Cantor was unopposed for re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.[citation needed]

2000

Cantor was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, succeeding retiring 20-year incumbent Republican Tom Bliley. He defeated the Democratic nominee, Warren A. Stewart, by nearly 100,000 votes.[50] Cantor had won the closely contested Republican primary over state Senator Stephen Martin by only 263 votes. During his first term, he was one of only two Jewish Republicans serving concurrently in the House of Representatives, the other being Benjamin A. Gilman of New York. Gilman retired in 2002 and Cantor has been the only Jewish Republican since.

2002

In 2002, Cantor was opposed by Democrat Ben Jones, former Congressman from Georgia, who had played "Cooter Davenport" in the TV Series The Dukes of Hazzard.[51][52]

2004

In 2004, Cantor was opposed by Independent W. B. Blanton. Cantor won with 75.5% of the vote. Blanton won 24.32% and there were 568 write-in votes.[citation needed]

2006

In 2006, Cantor was opposed by Democrat James M. Nachman and Independent W. B. Blanton. Cantor won 63.85%, Nachman won 34.4%, and Blanton won 1.64%. There were 272 write-in votes.[citation needed]

2008

Cantor won against Democratic nominee Anita Hartke.

In August 2008 news reports surfaced that Cantor was being considered as John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate, with McCain's representatives seeking documents from Cantor as part of its vetting process. Those rumors were later scoffed at by John McCain as just a rumor from the Cantor camp.[53][54][55] The idea for Cantor to be McCain's running mate was supported by conservative leaders like Richard Land and Erick Erickson.[56][57]

2010

Cantor won against Democratic challenger Rick Waugh, and Independent Green Party[58] candidate Floyd C. Bayne.

2012

Cantor faced a primary challenger, Floyd C. Bayne, in the June 12, 2012 Republican Primary. Cantor won that primary and then defeated Democratic challenger Wayne Powell. Although he won with 58% of the vote, Cantor received his lowest vote percentage since taking the hill in 2000.

2014 Republican primary and resignation[edit]

In the June 10, 2014, Republican primary, despite internal campaign polls placing him 30 points ahead of his opponent[59] and his spending advantage (Cantor outspent Brat 40 to 1),[60] Cantor lost to Tea Party candidate Dave Brat in a major upset. This made him the first sitting House majority leader to lose a primary since the position was created in 1899.[61][62][63][64] His loss at the primary was described by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the greatest political upsets of modern times."[59]

Following his primary defeat, Cantor announced his resignation as House Majority Leader effective July 31, and stated that he will not campaign for the general election. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch on July 31, 2014, Cantor revealed that he will resign from Congress effective August 18. He also said that he has asked Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to call for a special election on November 4, 2014 that would coincide with the general election.[65] Cantor had previously maintained that he would serve out his term which expires on January 3, 2015.[66][67]

On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, Moelis & Company, a New York investment bank, announced that it was appointing Cantor Vice Chairman and Managing director and that he would be elected to the Moelis & Company Board of Directors. [68]

Threats and campaign office incident[edit]

After the passage of the health care reform bill in March 2010, Cantor reported that somebody had shot a bullet through a window of his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia. A spokesman for the Richmond Police later stated that the bullet was not intentionally fired at Cantor's office, saying that it was instead random gunfire, as there were no signs outside the office identifying the office as being Cantor's.[69] Cantor responded to this by saying that Democratic leaders in the House should stop "dangerously fanning the flames" by blaming Republicans for threats against House Democrats who voted for the health care legislation.[70]

Cantor also reported that he had received threatening e-mails related to the passage of the bill.[71] In March 2010, Norman Leboon was arrested for threats made against Eric Cantor and his family.[72]

In 2011, Cantor was receiving two threatening phone calls, where Glendon Swift, an antisemite, was "screaming, profanity-laden messages (that) allegedly stated that he was going to destroy Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife." Swift was sentenced in April 2012 to 13 months federal prison.[73]

Electoral history[edit]

Virginia's 7th congressional district: Results 2000–2014[74][75][76]
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPctOtherPartyVotesPct
2000Warren A. Stewart94,93533%Eric Cantor192,65267%*
2002Ben L. "Cooter" Jones49,85430%Eric Cantor113,65869%*
2004(no candidate)Eric Cantor230,76575%W. Brad BlantonIndependent74,32524%*
2006James M. Nachman88,20634%Eric Cantor163,70664%W. Brad BlantonIndependent4,2132%*
2008Anita Hartke138,12337%Eric Cantor233,53163%
2010Rick Waugh79,60734%Eric Cantor138,19659%Floyd BayneIndependent Green15,1646%*
2012E. Wayne Powell158,01241%Eric Cantor222,98358%
*Write-in candidate notes: In 2000, write-ins received 304 votes. In 2002, write-ins received 153 votes. In 2004, write-ins received 568 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 272 votes. In 2008, write-ins received 683 votes. In 2010, write-ins received 413 votes. In 2012, write-ins received 914 votes.

Personal life[edit]

Cantor met his wife, Diana Marcy Fine, on a blind date; they were married in 1989.[11][26][77] They have three children, Evan, Jenna, and Michael, and live in Glen Allen, an unincorporated suburban community near Richmond (though Cantor is listed in the House roll as "R-Richmond"). In contrast to her husband, Diana Cantor is a lifelong, liberal Democrat.[78] Contrary to her husband's stated positions, she is pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage.[79]

Diana Cantor is a lawyer and certified public accountant. She founded, and from 1996 until 2008 was executive director of, the Virginia College Savings Plan (an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia). She was also chairman of the board of the College Savings Plans Network.[77][80][81] Mrs. Cantor is a managing director in a division of Emigrant Bank, a subsidiary of New York Private Bank & Trust Corp. [82]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Media appearances

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Bliley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

2001–2014
Vacant
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roy Blunt
House Chief Deputy Whip
2003–2009
Succeeded by
Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Whip
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Steny Hoyer
Preceded by
Steny Hoyer
House Majority Leader
2011–2014
Succeeded by
Kevin McCarthy