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Report: Cantor will step down as House Majority Leader at the end of July

John Boehner and Eric Cantor
John Boehner and Eric Cantor
Mark Wilson / Getty

Eric Cantor will announce later today that he'll step down as House Majority Leader, effective July 31, reports the Washington Post.

The decision ensures that the contest to succeed Cantor will play out soon. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, a good friend of Cantor's and part of his "Young Guns" group, is next in line. But McCarthy's close association with the existing leadership team might create an opening for a more conservative challenger.

Accordingly, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, long considered a rival to Cantor, announced that he was "prayerfully considering" a leadership bid on Tuesday. And today, the Post's Robert Costa reports that Hensarling is "whipping votes vs. McCarthy, making a real play" — and that he has already gained the "blessing" of Jim Jordan, an influential leader of the party's conservative faction.

Politico has reported that another conservative candidate from Texas, Rep. Pete Sessions, is making "an aggressive play," and had sent out a mass text message Tuesday night asking for support.