Was religion behind Manzullo-Cantor rift?

The lead story on the Politico Web site this morning RAISES THE QUESTION of whether House Majority Leader Eric Cantor opposed the renomination of incumbent Illinois Republican Congressman Don Manzullo because of religious differences:

Manzullo — according to more than a half-dozen Republican sources — once said Cantor, a devout Jew, would not be “saved.” The remark occurred several years ago, when Cantor was serving as chief deputy whip, the sources said. Cantor allies were put off by the comment, Republicans said.

Rich Carter, a Manzullo spokesman, denied his boss ever made such a comment. But the allegations made the rounds within the upper ranks of the House Republican Conference, leading Manzullo to request a meeting with Cantor in January to discuss what he considered an untrue — and damaging — rumor.

During that session, Manzullo also confronted Cantor about his support for Rep. Adam Kinzinger, his primary opponent, according to a source familiar with the matter. Kinzinger knocked off the 10-term Manzullo in a March 20 primary, ending his career.


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