House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., made his first big splash on the pages of Roll Call with a photo capturing his razor-thin victory in the 2000 GOP primary.
Cantor, then a state delegate, won his primary by 263 votes. He outspent his rival, state Rep. Steve Martin.
After his victory, Cantor said Martin was a “formidable opponent,” adding, “We’ve been taking him seriously ever since the get-go because we knew he would have a significant grass-roots effort.”
Cantor’s first primary was described as a “bitter race.” The Virginia Republican was backed by outgoing-Rep. Tom Bliley, R-Va., which wasn’t much of a surprise considering Cantor had chaired Bliley’s re-election campaign for six years.
Cantor’s profile in Roll Call’s new member guide for the 107th Congress noted the state representative and attorney was hoping to land a spot on the Energy and Commerce or Ways and Means committees.
At the start of his second term, Cantor was appointed chief deputy whip for the House Republicans. Six years later, he ascended to GOP whip. In 2010, Cantor ran unopposed to become House majority leader.
“I have announced my intention to stand for election as majority leader because I am results oriented and I want to help lead that effort and bring about these changes,” Cantor wrote in a letter to his colleagues in 2010.