Eric Cantor notified GOP lawmakers on Wednesday that he willÂ be stepping down from his post as House Majority Leader on July 31. Cantor willÂ be holding onto his position until late July even though Speaker Boehner hasÂ set a June 19th date for the leadership election to choose who willÂ replace Cantor.
âI will be stepping down as majority leader. It is withÂ great humility that I do so, knowing the tremendous honor it has been to holdÂ this position,â said an emotional Cantor.
Cantor received five standing ovations at the pressÂ conference where he announced his decision to step down. Speaker Boehner wasÂ noticeably teary-eyed at the conference.
âNever more gracious, noble sentiment was expressed in that roomÂ than this,â responded Rep. Trent Franks after the meeting.
âSuccess is not final, failure is not fatal, it is theÂ courage to continue that counts,â said Boehner of Cantor, quoting formerÂ British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Cantorâs resignation comes after a devastating primary lossÂ against Tea Party backed challenger, David Brat.
âThere was a lot of applause for his service and hisÂ dedication for our country. Itâs a tough time for him and all of us know thatÂ we serve at the whim of those people who vote for us. There was a lot ofÂ emotion and concern and empathy for Eric,â said Rep. Mark Meadows.
The WashingtonÂ Examiner reports, âBut Cantorâs imminent departure also brought excitementÂ among a faction of House conservative Republicans who have clashed with himÂ over spending and immigration reform. They are hoping Rep. Jeb Hensarling,Â R-Texas, who is considered more conservative than Cantor, will run to replaceÂ him.â
In light of Cantorâs defeat, Speaker Boehner reassuredÂ lawmakers that he would retain his post and would not step down. Boehner saidÂ that he is committed to pushing the GOP agenda in Congress.
Boehner aides said that this agenda would not includeÂ immigration reform due to its divisive role in the Republican Party.
Speaker Boehner wants to focus on showing voters that hisÂ party is one that exists as a viable alternative to President Obama and theÂ Democratic Party.
The battle to replace Cantor will prove to be one that isÂ hard fought, as both the establishment and more conservative members ofÂ Congress will all have vastly different ideas for who should be his successor.