Eric Cantor came closer than we thought to becoming the first Jewish Speaker

Ron Kampeas

Former Rep. Eric Cantor, who was felled last year in his Virginia primary, apparently just missed becoming the first Jewish speaker — second in line to the presidency after the vice-president.

An aide to Boehner, the Republican House speaker who is quitting, dropped a bombshell Friday: Boehner had wanted to step down last year but “Majority Leader [Eric] Cantor’s loss in his primary changed that calculation.”

So reported the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and Ryan Grim, who do not name the aide.

As Stein and Grim noted, Boehner denied any such intention two years ago — perhaps because he didn’t want to muddy waters before clearing the way for Cantor to become speaker.

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As majority leader, Cantor was already the highest ranking Jewish legislator in U.S. history. Some say he was the highest-ranking Jewish government official, but it’s not clear majority leader bests secretary of state, a post held by Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.

Cantor got beat by Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. Both Boehner and Cantor went down to the same forces — Tea Party conservatives who believed the leaders were not putting up enough of a fight against the Obama administration.

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