Eric Cantor

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Eric Ivan Cantor (born June 6, 1963) is a representative of Virginia's 7th congressional district. The district includes most of the northern and western sections of Richmond, along with most of Richmond's western suburbs and portions of the Shenandoah Valley.

On November 19, 2008, he was unanimously elected Republican Whip for the 111th United States Congress after serving as chief deputy whip for the previous six years. At his time in office, Cantor was currently the only Jewish Republican in the United States Congress after Josef Lieberman switched parties.[1][2][3] He resigned August 1, 2014 to potentially avoid a scandal from coming to light.[4]

Early life and education

Cantor was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was graduated from the Collegiate School in 1981, earned a baccalaureate at George Washington University (where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity) in 1985[5] and a juris doctorate from William & Mary Law School in 1988, and received a master of science degree from Columbia University in 1989.[1]

Cantor met his wife, Diana Marcy Fine, on a blind date; they were married in 1989.[2][6][7]

Early career

As a freshman at George Washington University in 1981, Cantor worked as an intern for House Republican Tom Bliley of Virginia and was Bliley's driver in the 1982 campaign.[8]

Cantor worked for over a decade with his family's small business doing legal work and real estate development.

He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992–January 1, 2001.[1] At various times he was a member of committees on Science and Technology, Corporation Insurance and Banking, General Laws, Courts of Justice, (co-chairman) Claims.[7][9]


Cantor was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, filling the seat from which Tom Bliley was retiring.

During his first term, Cantor was Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. He has also served on the House Financial Services Committee and on the House International Relations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

In 2002, Roy Blunt appointed him chief deputy Republican whip, the highest appointed position in the Republican caucus.[1]

In the 2002 election, Cantor defeated Democratic challenger Ben "Cooter" Jones, who starred on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.[10][11]

In the 2006 election, Cantor defeated Jim Nachman, the Democratic nominee, and Independent candidate Dr. Brad Blanton. Cantor received 63.85% of the votes.[12]

On September 29, 2009 Cantor blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for what he felt was the failure of the $700 billion economic bailout bill. He noted that 94 Democrats voted against the measure, as well as 133 Republicans.[13] He referred to Pelosi's proposal to appoint a Car czar to run the U.S. Automobile Industry Bailout as "an unneeded 'bureaucratic' imposition on private business".[14]

In November 2008, Cantor was re-elected to Congress. On November 19, 2008, he was unanimously elected Republican Whip for the 111th United States Congress.[3]

In February 2009, Cantor led Republicans in the House of Representatives in voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[15] and was a prominent spokesman in voicing the many issues he and his fellow Republicans had with the legislation. Cantor voted in favor of a 90% marginal tax rate increase on taxpayer financed bonuses,[16] despite receiving campaign contributions from TARP recipient Citigroup.[17]

Position on Israel

Cantor supports strong United States-Israel relations.[1][5] He cosponsored legislation to cut off all U.S. taxpayer aid to the Palestinian Authority and another bill calling for an end to taxpayer aid to the Palestinians until they stop unauthorized excavations on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[18] Responding to a claim by the State Department that the United States provides no direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, Cantor claimed that United States sends about US$75 million in aid annually to the Palestinian Authority, which is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Cantor has also claimed that Congress approved a three-year package of US$400 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority in 2000. He has also introduced legislation to end aid to Palestinians.[19]

In May 2008, Cantor said that the relationship America has with Israel is "a constant reminder of the greatness of America."[20]

In November 2008, following Barack Obama's election as President, Cantor stated that a “stronger U.S.-Israel relationship” remains a top priority for him and that he would be “very outspoken” if Obama "did anything to undermine those ties."[21]

Personal life

The Cantors have three children, Evan, Jenna, and Michael. Mrs. Cantor's mother, Barbara Fine, lives and manages the cooking and shopping in the Cantor household, which is kosher.[6] Mrs. Cantor is a lawyer and certified public accountant. She founded, and from 1996 until 2008 was executive director of, the Virginia College Savings Plan (an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.) She was also chairman of the board of the College Savings Plans Network.[6][22][23] Mrs. Cantor is a Managing Director in a division of Emigrant Bank, a subsidiary of New York Private Bank & Trust Corp. [24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Barone, Michael; Richard E. Cohen (2008). The Almanac of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group and Atlantic Media Company, 1681–1683. ISBN 9780892341177. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roig-Franzia, Manuel (11 December 2008). "The Pathfinder: New House Whip Eric Cantor Aims to be the GOP's Out-of-the-Wilderness Gude". Washington Post: pp. C1, C4. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cantor elected minority whip by Eric Fingerhut, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 19, 2008 (retrieved on February 5, 2009).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bacalis, Lauren (10/7/02). "Students campaign for GW alumnus". GW Hatchet (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved 2008-12-14. "Ten College Republicans, four Phi Sigma Kappa members and two pro-Israel students traveled to Richmond, Va. early Saturday morning to campaign for Cantor." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Yearwood, Pauline Dubkin (Fall 2003). "Diana Cantor: Helping Families Finance College". Jewish Woman (Washington, D.C.: Jewish Women International). Archived from the original on 2003-09-11. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Eric I. Cantor." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K2013384111. Retrieved 14 December 2008. Fee.
  8. Barnes, Fred. " Virginia's Eric Cantor has risen fast-and the sky's the limit.", The Weekly Standard, October 1, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2008. "As a freshman at George Washington University in 1981, Cantor worked as an intern for House Republican Tom Bliley of Virginia and was Bliley's driver in the 1982 campaign. After GW, Cantor got a law degree at William & Mary (1988) and a master's in real estate management from Columbia University."
  9. Historical Bio for Eric I. Cantor. Virginia House of Delegates. Retrieved on 2008-12-14.
  10. Republicans projected to retain House.
  11. November 5, 2002 General Election Results. Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved on 2008-12-14.
  12. November 7, 2006 General Election Results. Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved on 2008-12-14.
  13. Richmond's Entertainment, News, and Community Resource - Retrieved on 2008-11-01.
  14. Rogers, David (December 11, 2008). Bailout backers try to make a deal. Retrieved on 2008-12-14. “Yet in the House debate across the Capitol, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) derided the czar as an unneeded “bureaucratic” imposition on private business.”
  16. "House Approves 90% Tax on Bonuses After Bailouts". The New York Times. March 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  17. "Follow the Bailout Cash". Newsweek. March 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  18. Jewish minyan grows in Senate; Jew elected to House, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 8, 2002.
  19. Bush waives law forbidding U.S. aid to PLO.
  20. GOP hits Obama over Israel..
  21. What is the future for Republican Jews? by Eric Fingerhut, November 25, 2008 (retrieved on February 5, 2009).
  22. Cantor, Diana F. (June 2, 2004). Testimony of Diana F. Cantor before the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises (PDF). House Committee on Financial Services. Retrieved on 2008-12-14.
  23. Cox, Kirk (February 11, 2008). HJ382: Commending Diana F. Cantor. Retrieved on 2008-12-14. “Diana F. Cantor will step down from her position in 2008, having served the Commonwealth since April 24, 1996, as the outstanding founding executive director of the Virginia Higher Education Tuition Trust Fund, subsequently renamed the Virginia College Savings Plan...” 02/15/2008 Agreed to by Senate by voice vote.
  24. Roston, Aram (January 23, 2009). Bank Employing GOP House Leader’s Wife Got Bailout Bucks. House Committee on Financial Services. Retrieved on 2009-03-25.
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