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Eric Ivan Cantor (born June 6, 1963) is an American politician who has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 2001, representing Virginia's 7th congressional district (map). The district includes most of the wealthier portions of Richmond, as well as most of that city's suburbs and portions of the Shenandoah Valley. Cantor is the sole Jewish Republican in the House.[1]

Born in Richmond, Cantor attended George Washington University where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity[2], received his Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary, and did graduate work at Columbia University, from which he received a master's degree in government. Cantor worked for over a decade with his family's small business doing legal work and real estate development. Cantor was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, serving there from 1992 to 2001, when he was elected to the House.

Congress

During his first term in office, Cantor was selected to serve as Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. He has also served on the House Financial Services Committee and on the House International Relations Committee and the very powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Since his second term, he has served as chief deputy Republican whip, the highest appointed position in the Republican caucus.

Cantor is married to Diana Fine and they maintain a kosher home.[3] On June 8, 2005, Cantor defeated Jim Nachman, the Democratic nominee and Independent candidate Dr. Brad Blanton. Cantor received 64% of the votes.

Cantor is a supporter of strong US-Israel relations, cosponsoring legislation that would cut off all U.S. taxpayer aid to the Palestinian Authority and another bill calling for an end to taxpayer aid to the Palestinians until they stop unauthorized excavations on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[4] Responding to a claim by the State Department that the United States provides no "direct" aid to the Palestinian Authority, Cantor stated that United States sends about $75 million in aid annually to the Palestinian Authority, which is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Cantor also stated that Congress approved a three-year package of $400 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority in 2000.[5] Cantor's cousin, Daniel Cantor Wultz, died as the result of a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv which was carried out by Islamic Jihad on April 17, 2006.

In the 2002 election, Cantor defeated Democratic opponent Ben "Cooter" Jones, who starred on the popular TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. [6]

In June 2008, it was reported that Cantor was being considered as John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate[7]. [8].

On August 3, 2008 it was reported that John McCain's campaign asked Congressman Cantor for personal papers, signifying McCain's interest in Cantor as a running mate.

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