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Cantor hints he could wade into presidential race with endorsement

BALTIMORE, MD -- The second-ranking House Republican suggested Friday he could step into the presidential race and make an endorsement before a nominee is decided.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), during a briefing at the House GOP's retreat this weekend in Baltimore, said that he prefers a speedy conclusion to the presidential primary.

"The more we can coalesce around a single nominee the more straightforward the choice will be for the for American people," Cantor said. "I dont know if i'll endorse before it's over. I'm leaving the option open."

Like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Cantor has remained officially neutral throughout the primary process. Mitt Romney has collected a number of endorsements, though, from high-profile Republicans on Capitol Hill. Newt Gingrich has also won some support, namely from fellow Georgians and a few lawmakers who had served on Capitol Hill during his speakership.

House GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling had previously been the highest-ranking member of the Republican leadership to make an endorsement; Hensarling backed a fellow Texan, Gov. Rick Perry. (Perry ended his campaign this week.)

Cantor suggested that the GOP might be anxious to coordinate its message more closely with a nominee once the race has been decided.

"Ed Gillespie told our conference that the House should be in close coordination with the nominee one that has been decided," referring to the GOP powerbroker, Gillespie, a cofounder of American Crossroads.

Cantor also noted, though, that he hadn't spoken to Romney in "a while."