Eric Cantor leaves door open for future return to office

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), stayed on messages during his first interviews Sunday after being defeated in a shocking primary upset last week — one of the biggest upsets in modern electoral history — but did not rule out a future run for office.

Cantor, in interviews on CNN and ABC, said he hopes to continue to influence the political conversation, and would not rule out becoming a lobbyist or running for office again in the future.

"Absolutely," Cantor said when asked on ABC if he was shocked by the loss. "I don't think that anyone would think the outcome would be what it was."

Cantor remained upbeat and positive, consistent with his few other public appearances since his surprise primary loss on Tuesday.

"There are some things that happen for a reason, and we might not be able to discern it now," Cantor said on ABC. "What (seems) very bad at the time may turn out to be very good."

He also insisted that his defeat did not come because of his stance on immigration reform.

"I don't think there was any one particular reason why the outcome was what it was," Cantor said. "As far as immigration is concerned my position never wavered."

Cantor refused to directly respond to questions about why he lost, and why his internal pollster got the race so disastrously wrong.

"You're thinking about it." CNN's Dana Bash said to Cantor after he declined to analyze why his campaign polling was so wrong.

"I'm not," Cantor shot back. "Because I'm looking forward."

Elsewhere on the Sunday morning circuit, top Republicans insisted that Cantor's loss is not a signal of Republican dysfunction.

"It's our inclination to look at races and suggest at somehow a national movement," said Mitt Romney, the former GOP presidential candidate, during an interview on "Meet the Press." "I look at this (Cantor loss) and say this has a lot to do with the effectiveness of relative campaigns."

In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that Cantor's loss was not indicative of deep division among the GOP ranks.

Instead, the head of the Republican party said that Cantor's loss likely stemmed from his failure to balance his responsibilities as majority leader with his responsibilities as congressman.

"When you're trying to be a majority leader, it takes you out all over this country," Priebus said. "Pretty soon, that great work you're doing nationally becomes a liability locally."

Wesley Lowery covers Capitol Hill for The Fix and Post Politics.
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