Today, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) announced that he will be resigning his seat before the November election. As such, he has asked the governor to hold a special election. Cantor, as you likely know, was beaten in a fairly surprising upset by Dave Brat.
Reactions to this news have been mixed. Some praise Cantor as doing so would allow whoever won the seat to take office immediately thus having a leg up in seniority over others elected on November 4th. Others speak harshly of the former majority leader claiming that he is abandoning his constituents and “taking his ball and going home”. And then there is the response from the Carr campaign.
James Carr is the Libertarian candidate for the House of Representatives in Cantor’s district. His press release from a few moments ago reads, “There are few maneuvers in politics so blatantly contrary to the best interest of the voters as election manipulation. I hope the public will take notice of and respond appropriately to this attempt to control their votes in November.”
But why does Carr make such a claim? Well, he adds, “The request for a special election to be held clearly is intended to remove me from that ballot. If the governor grants a special election, not only will the winner be placed in office immediately and gain many of the benefits associated with Mr. Cantor’s seniority in congress, but the ballot qualification process will be reset as this would be a separate election which means I would have to qualify for this one as well. This is intended to limit the likelihood of a voter choosing one candidate in the special election (which only applies to the remainder of 2014) and another in the general.”
If Carr’s statement is true, switching to a special election would certainly have a negative affect on our electoral process as it could exclude one of the qualified candidates. To seek out the answer, I called the Virginia State Board of Elections. They confirmed that if a special election is called, the previous signatures will be ignored for this race and Mr. Carr will have to go through the signature collection process again.
So what do you think? Is Cantor’s resignation a positive, a negative, or something else?