WASHINGTON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Thursday gave his farewell address as majority's No. 2 most-powerful Republican on the House side of Capitol Hill.
Cantor announced on June 11 about his resignation after he was defeated by David Brat, a little-known and under-funded rival backed by tea party groups, in a primary election for the country' s midterm elections with control of Congress at stake.
In remarks filled with gratitude and touches of humility, Cantor sent good wishes to Kevin McCarthy, his close friend, who was elected new majority leader on June 19.
The resignation would mark a swift end to a quick rise to power for Cantor, 51, who was elected to Congress in 2000, was appointed to the leadership two years later, and then rose steadily to become the second-most powerful Republican in the House. In that post, he was the most powerful Jewish Republican in Congress, and occasionally was seen as a potential rival to House Speaker John Boehner but more often as a likely successor.
McCarthy, a 49-year-old California Republican, has built a reputation as gregarious and politically savvy pol despite some failing in the more confrontational whip role.
Lawmakers noted that the biggest change between Cantor and McCarthy will likely be stylistically. While Cantor and McCarthy have long been House allies, they said, McCarthy would bring a more informal approach.