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Cantor-backed groups face uncertain future in wake of stunning defeat

Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., arrives for a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, as candidates for House GOP leadership posts make their pitches to the rank-and-file in the tumultuous aftermath of Cantor’s sudden loss last week in his Virginia primary race. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, is the strong favorite to become the new majority leader, if he staves off a longshot challenge from conservative Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Before his stunning defeat, Majority Leader Eric Cantor didn’t just believe he would be the next speaker of the House. He also believed he would be a thought leader in the Republican Party. In 2011, Cantor dispatched a top aide to build a network of high-profile outside groups to cement his place in a GOP shaped in his own image and set the agenda for the party as a whole. Now, rejected by Virginia Republican primary voters, Cantor is reeling personally from the loss, of both his seat and his leadership ambition. But the groups he helped build to promote his ideology are in flux, too. Donors and establishment Republicans who once poured millions of dollars into them must decide whether it’s still a good investment to fund organizations that advocate for policies and candidates reflective of Cantor’s vision for the party’s future.

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