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Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks at the Values Voter Summit, 2011.
It's simple, really. Here's Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House, on Rep. Vance McAllister, who just announced he wouldn't seek re-election after getting caught on video making out with a staffer:
"I did just meet with [McAllister], I asked to meet with him," Cantor said in a hallway interview on Tuesday. "When we took the majority, I had said that I believe we ought to hold ourselves to a higher standard. And I think what has happened in his instance doesn't meet that standard. So I told him that I thought he should resign."
And here's Cantor on Rep. Mike Grimm, another Republican, who faces a 20-count indictment over allegations that he under-reported wages to the tune of $1 million at a restaurant he ran—and lied to federal investigators about it:
"With Michael Grimm, he's going to have to make his case to his constituents and make his case in court," Cantor said.
So one congressman engages in some kissy-face with a woman who's not his wife, and dammit, he's got to go. But another guy is accused of defrauding the government and could get a 20-year prison sentence, and he gets to stick around. Huh. You'd think Cantor has this exactly backward!

Of course, there's a very simple explanation for this, and it lies in two numbers: 61 and 52. The former is the percentage of the vote Mitt Romney earned in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District, which McAllister presently holds. That's more than red enough to keep the seat safely in GOP hands, particularly since McAllister isn't running again.

The latter, by contrast, is Barack Obama's vote share in New York's 11th District, where Grimm is running for a third term. That makes it one of just a handful of Republican-held seats carried by the president, which is why Grimm had long been a Democratic target, even before his indictment was handed up. Cantor understands this perfectly well, which is why he doesn't want to muck with Grimm's precarious situation.

But at this point, Democrats may be better off facing the badly tarred Grimm than a replacement. The problem for Cantor is that, thanks to New York law, it won't be easy to find a substitute. So he's standing by his man not just out of hypocrisy, and not just out of expediency, but very possibly out of desperation as well. That's cold comfort for Vance McAllister, but hey, at least he's not looking at jail time.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 01:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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