Eric Cantor, the former House Majority Leader who primary election loss was one of the biggest political shockers of 2014, has re-emerged from the private sector to lend his support to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign in his home state.
On Thursday, Politico first reported that Cantor was to endorse Bush on Thursday evening and would help chair his campaign in Virginia — joining former Lt. Gov. John Hager and former Secretary of Health Kay Coles James as co-chairman and chairwoman, a Bush spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call.
"Governor Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know how to implement it," Cantor said in a statement. "After eight years of anemic growth and declining international relevance, America needs a President that can re-energize our nation and recapture our greatness — Jeb Bush is that man."
Cantor's loss in a primary to Dave Brat, who ultimately replaced him in Congress, was a major victory last year for conservatives disgruntled with the so-called Republican establishment, leading some observers on Thursday to question what impact the endorsement might have.
Twitter is not endorsing the Cantor endorsement.— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) August 27, 2015
For Bush, running for president in a cycle when voters are telling pollsters they will support anti-establishment candidates in the Republican primary, a conservative activist and commentator referred to Cantor's endorsement as a "kiss of death."
Kiss of Death Alert: Eric Cantor will endorse Jeb Bush on Thurs. evening and will be named co-chair of his VA operation. — Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 27, 2015
Jeb is literally rolling out the endorsement of a famous loser — Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) August 27, 2015
What did Jeb Bush do to piss off Eric Cantor? — Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) August 27, 2015
Earlier this year, Cantor — now an executive at the investment bank Moelis & Company — joined Bush for a high-dollar fundraiser in Richmond.
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