House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told CNN in an interview aired this morning that he doesn’t believe “there is any one reason for the outcome of the election” last week that cost him his seat.
“There’s just a lot of things that go through voters’ minds when they go through the voting booth,” he said.
Cantor’s primary loss to political novice and economics professor Dave Brat has turned out to be the political shocker of the season thus far. He’ll step down from his GOP leadership post in the House on July 31.
“I will tell you one thing,” he added. “We ran my campaign the same way that I’m trying to focus my work here in the debate in Washington, and that is focusing on people who have real problems.”
He credited his wife of 25 years and three kids for helping him get through primary night.
“And I told them, I said, look, dad is going to lose. And I actually called my son who works up in New York and I told him. He said, you’re kidding. And I said, no, I’m really not. He said, you’re kidding. I said, no. I said, look, but things happen for a reason. We don’t always know right here and now why,” he said. “And I think the perspective of time will actually indicate something that may have seemed really bad at the time can turn out to be really good.”
Cantor claimed he’s not thinking about whether Democrats showed up in the open primary to sabotage the vote and take out of a member of House leadership.
“A lot of folks are going to be interested in that,” he acknowledged. “But, to me, the problems that people are facing in this country are a lot greater than any kind of setback, political setback, personal setback that I have got. So, I really am very focused on continuing on the mission that I have tried to be about here in Washington,” he said. “It’s those reform conservative solutions that actually can be applied to people’s problems in the working middle class of this country, the poor, and for everyone.”
The majority leader stressed his position on immigration reform “has not changed.”
“It was the way it is before the primary, during and now. And I took a principled position. I have always said that I am not for a comprehensive amnesty bill. But I have always said that I was for the kids who do, to no fault of their own, find themselves here and know no other place as home,” Cantor explained. “Now, I know that that can make a lot of people mad on both sides. But I do think it’s the only plausible way forward in terms of immigration reform, that we focus on the things that we agree on, not that which we don’t, and build the trust, so that we can get something done.”
“I have said this to the president. My colleagues are aware of my position. And, again, it did, I’m sure, aggravate people on both sides of the issue, but it is the principled position that I have taken, and I believe it’s the right one.”
When asked if anti-Semitism played a role in his defeat, he replied, “Listen, I don’t ever want to impute that to anybody.”
“As you rightly say, I’m born and raised Jewish. My faith is very important to me. And, you know, I know that I’m going to continue to try and work with the lessons that I have learned from my early years in Hebrew school, learning about the Old Testament and much greater leaders than I with personal setbacks, but always focused on being optimistic about the future,” he said. “Our country has so much potential. I believe that the Republican Party is one that taps into that innate potential.”
“I said that day that we reopened the government that we, as conservatives and as Republicans, we may have some differences, but they pale in comparison to the differences that we have with the left… I am determined to continue on the mission that our party needs to be one of inclusion, not exclusion.”
When asked if he would vote for Brat, Cantor said, “Listen, I want a Republican to hold this seat. Of course, of course.”
When asked if he was done with politics: “I’m not ready to close out any options right now.”