McCain is vetting Cantor
McCain is vetting Cantor
By MIKE ALLEN & JONATHAN MARTIN | 8/2/08 8:34 PM EST
The McCain campaign is vetting Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) as a potential vice-presidential candidate, a campaign adviser told Politico on Saturday.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is a top running-mate prospect for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), opening up the possibility of an all-Old Dominion, Kaine vs. Cantor vice-presidential debate.
Cantor, 45, has provided records to the running-mate search team of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the adviser said.
With a Southern lilt and that belies his talent for raw politics, Cantor is one of the nation’s most prominent Jewish Republicans, and has impressed the McCain team by becoming a prolific fund-raiser for the campaign.
A young fiscal conservative who could help keep Virginia from tipping blue, Cantor could also be an asset in such battlegrounds as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has shown appeal to the party's base as well as to independents, and would be an unconventional choice at a time when McCain is looking to add excitement to his campaign.
"McCain needs to do something different," said Chris LaCivita, a top Virginia Republican strategist. Citing his youth, ties to the business community, strong relationship with conservative activists and proven ability to raise money, LaCivita said Cantor "fits all the bills."
The commonwealth, which has been reliably Republican in presidential races, has become more Democratic, making it a top target for Obama and a huge concern for McCain.
Cantor, who lives in suburban Richmond, would bring to the ticket a photogenic family and a track record of raising prodigious amounts of money from his own national network. On weekends, he travels constantly on behalf of Republican House candidates and the national party
Known on Capitol Hill as squeaky clean, Cantor has successfully campaigned and raised money in key states like Missouri, New Jersey and New York.
Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor and now Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, has said that Cantor was his toughest potential opponent. Cantor decided to stay in the House to continue rising the leadership ladder.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and one of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, recently praised Cantor as a potential McCain running mate, calling him rock-solid on social issues—a huge concern for Christian conservatives with the maverick McCain at the top of the ticket.
Amid hothouse speculation throughout the party, Cantor joins a tiny list of Republicans known to be under real consideration by McCain. The Republican convention runs from Sept. 1-4.
Other contenders include former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman of Ohio, former congressman, White House budget director and U.S. trade ambassador.
Cantor is a member of the House Republican leadership, chief deputy whip, and a member of one of the most coveted committees.
From his official biography: “Eric Cantor is a lifelong resident of the Richmond area. He got his start in politics as a student at George Washington University by interning for Congressman Tom Bliley in Bliley’s Washington office and serving as a driver on Bliley’s first re-election campaign. Eric received his law degree from The College of William and Mary and his Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.
“While in New York, Eric met his wife Diana and brought her back to Virginia where they are currently raising three children, Evan, Jenna and Michael, who attend Henrico County Public Schools.”