Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed Jeb Bush Thursday, spurning several rivals who were aggressively courting the former GOP number two.
Cantor, who left Congress last year after a shocking loss in a primary to conservative upstart David Brat, will become co-chair of Bush’s campaign in his home state Virginia, providing the former Florida governor access to his extensive donor base in the finance and Jewish communities.
The endorsement is a blow to several of Bush’s rivals. According to a source close to Cantor, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were all striving to earn Cantor’s support.
“They pursued him for months and months,” the source said. “He still has a whole lot of friends in Congress and other prominent folks across the country in the party and the finance and fundraising communities.”
According to the source, Cantor weighed his options over the past several months and came to his decision to back Jeb “relatively recently.”
In a statement, Cantor said, “Governor Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know how to implement it. 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. I look forward to working closely with the Governor and his team as they chart a course to the White House.”
Cantor will appear with Bush at an event in Norfolk, Va., Friday. News of Cantor’s endorsement was first reported by Politico.