In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cantor said he made the decision so his constituents could have his replacement immediately after the November election instead of January, when his term would have ended.
"I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session," Cantor said in an article published Friday morning. "That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents."
Cantor, who had previously been considered the leading candidate to replace John Boehner as House Speaker, lost his own Republican primary in a shocking June upset to the previously unknown college professor David Brat. He announced he would step down from his party leadership post at the beginning of August and was replaced as majority leader by former House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California).