Eric Cantor endorses Bill Bolling

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A day after easily winning his Republican primary battle, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia has taken sides in the state's already tense nomination fight for next year's governor's race.

Cantor endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling over tea party hero Ken Cuccinelli, the state's activist conservative attorney general, in the 2013 GOP gubernatorial contest.

Cantor's endorsement came Wednesday, one day after he defeated a little-known primary challenger with tea party backing. His ally, former Sen. George Allen, defeated three opponents who ran to his right, including state tea party leader Jamie Radtke.

It also came two days ahead of a strategically critical fight by the state GOP's ruling body over whether to stick with a 2013 gubernatorial primary or shift to a nominating convention, which Cuccinelli's backers prefer.