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Eric Cantor tells Virginia newspaper he'll resign in August

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor tells a Virginia newspaper he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives months earlier than expected.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported early Friday that Cantor will step down Aug. 18 to make sure constituents have a voice during the "consequential" lame-duck session.

"The issues that will be considered during the lame duck session this year will be crucial to the future of our country. These debates will continue into the new Congress, and the people of this district deserve to have their new voice representing them and engaging on their behalf," Cantor said in a statement to supporters. "This will also offer my successor the opportunity to get a head start on the incoming freshman class and provide him with seniority that will ultimately benefit the citizens of the district."

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Cantor tells the newspaper he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the Nov. 4 general election. That would enable his successor to take office immediately. Cantor's announcement comes hours after he stepped down as House majority leader Thursday.

Cantor had previously said he would serve his full term, which would have ended in January. Cantor lost to Dave Brat, an underfunded, tea party-backed opponent, in his Republican primary in June.

In his statement to supporters, Cantor hinted at a life after politics.

"While my days as a congressman will soon be behind me, my days of fighting for those ideas as a citizen are ahead of me," he said, referring to the Republican ideals espoused by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.

By The Associated Press with CNBC.