After indicating he would serve out his House term as a humble rank-and-file Member, Eric Cantor suddenly changed course, per this report from Politico‘s Jonathan Topaz:

Rep. Eric Cantor says he will resign from Congress on Aug. 18 and has requested a special election to replace him, according to a report late Thursday.

The Virginia Republican told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he has called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to set up a special election for his 7th Congressional District seat so that his replacement can begin immediately after the election and not when the 114th Congress starts in January….

Cantor previously said he would serve his full term.

“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 Times-Dispatch. “That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents [because] he can be there in that consequential lame-duck session,” he added.

Yeah, that makes sense. Cantor is real solicitous of Dave Brat’s influence in a lame-duck session, and thinks the wild-man economist–or perhaps his Democratic opponent, Jack Trammell–would be a more effective legislator than his own self.

Looks to me like Cantor just can’t stand the humiliation of hanging around Washington in his reduced state, and/or has a new gig with a nice fat salary he wants to take on asap. And it doesn”t seem he’s real worried about the representation of the 7th District of Virginia for the rest of the year, or he’d stay in place to make sure of it himself.

Whatever. But Cantor shouldn’t pretend he’s being altruistic here.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.