Cantor says he'll resign months earlier than expected

Last Updated Aug 1, 2014 8:45 AM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. -- A day after he stepped down as House majority leader and two months after a stunning primary loss, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., will resign his seat in the House of Representatives months earlier than expected.

CBS News has confirmed that Cantor will step down Aug. 18. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he wants to make sure constituents have a voice during the "consequential" lame-duck session.

"During this time of transition for me and my family, it is my foremost desire to ensure that representation is maintained for the people of the 7th District," Cantor said in a statement. "For this reason, I have asked Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe to hold a special election on Election Day, at no additional cost to taxpayers, so my successor can be sworn in immediately in November."

Cantor's announcement came hours after he stepped down as House majority leader Thursday. Cantor had previously said he would serve his full term, which would have ended in January.

He bid farewell to his post as majority leader, marking the occasion with a floor speech Thursday in which he thanked his colleagues for giving him the "privilege of a lifetime" by allowing him to serve as House majority leader.

"Walking into this building, walking onto this floor, is something that excited me every day since I was first elected to Congress," Cantor said. "Not one of us should ever take for granted the awesome honor and responsibility we have to serve our fellow Americans."

Cantor lost to Dave Brat, an underfunded, tea party-backed opponent, in his Republican primary in June.

In a statement early Friday morning, Brat thanked Cantor for his service to their district.

"The time one has to sacrifice to be an elected official is enormous, and he has sacrificed a great deal to serve the people," said Brat. "I also want to thank him for his endorsement. I wish Eric and his family the best in their future endeavors."

CBS News' Nancy Cordes contributed to this report.