Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, said Wednesday morning that members were already scrambling to fill the leadership seat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost the Virginia GOP primary in a surprise upset Tuesday night.
When asked on MSNBC if Mr. Cantor would continue to serve as majority leader through November, Mr. King said he had received texts and emails overnight from people saying they want to run for the spot. Mr. King, however, declined to say who was thinking of running and also would not comment on if he thought Mr. Cantor should stay on.
“I think that’ll resolve itself. I don’t want to be saying anything critical of Eric today because he’s a friend,” Mr. King said.
None of the members could have predicted Mr. Cantor’s loss after he led tea-party challenger David Brat by 30-plus points leading up to the primary election, Mr. King said.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” he said. “Yesterday if you went around the House floor, people thought if Eric got less than 60 percent of the vote, that would be defeat. It was just a question of how high his majority was going to be.”
Analysts speculated that the surprise upset could have been because Mr. Cantor as majority leader had to spend a lot of time away from his district.
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“Once you’re in leadership, almost by the nature of the job, you do get more removed from the district because you have national obligations,” Mr. King said.