(Reuters) – Congressman Eric Cantor said he will resign his seat effective Aug. 18, months earlier than expected following a shock primary election defeat, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Friday.
Cantor, who on Thursday stepped down from his leadership position in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, said he had asked Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to call a special election to coincide with November’s general election, the newspaper reported.
Such a race would allow the winner to take office immediately, rather than in January when the next Congress convenes, the newspaper said.
“I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session,” Cantor told the paper in an interview, referring to the period between the vote and start of the new Congress.
It would also give the winner some seniority over the rest of the new class elected in November
A representative for Cantor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
Cantor, who was elected to the House in 2000 and served as House Majority Leader since 2011, unexpectedly lost to a Tea Party-backed college economics professor in June. The defeat stopped Cantor’s bid for an eighth term but he had been expected to serve out his current term through this year.
The Virginia lawmaker did not reveal his plans once he leaves office.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)