Republican Whip Cantor to speak at GOP's Fancy Farm breakfast

07/03/2010 05:24 PM

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican House whip from Virginia, will be the keynote speaker at the Graves County Republican Party breakfast before the Fancy Farm picnic Aug. 7.

Patricia Vincent, the Graves County Republican Party chairwoman, confirmed Saturday that Cantor has accepted the group’s invitation. She told cn|2 Politics earlier in the week she had hoped to land a Republican congressional leader but wouldn’t say who until he confirmed he would be there.

Cantor will be the first major Republican official from outside the state to appear at the breakfast in at least a decade, Vincent said. It’s unclear whether Cantor’s schedule will allow him to speak at the Fancy Farm picnic at St. Jerome Catholic Church later in the day. The political speaking portion of the picnic serves as the kick-off to the fall election season.

“I have just seen Congressman Cantor on TV quite a bit,” Vincent said. “I was impressed by the way he answered questions.”

She said while not a lot of Graves County Republicans know much about Cantor, “we needed a spark” in the breakfast and he will be it, she said.

Cantor’s leadership and ambition have been the subject of much discussion this week. But he is seen as a rising star and a possible rival to House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who had a rough week.

So how did the Graves County Republican breakfast, which is held at the far western Kentucky county’s high school cafeteria, land such a high-profile speaker?

Vincent credited U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Hopkinsville Republican, and his district director, Michael Pape, for helping to land Cantor.

Whitfield, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and state Sen. Ken Winters of Murray will be among the speakers at the breakfast. State Senate President David Williams will serve as master of ceremonies, Vincent said.

- Ryan Alessi


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