It could not have been an easy day for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico). A man that once controlled the flow of traffic at Capitol Hill was today caught up in it as he fellow member jockeyed for position in a post- Cantor world.
It was a day unlike any other. Members hoping to just quickly cast a vote on the House floor were bombarded by TV cameras and flashbulbs. Looking for a quote or some sort of insight to explain what went wrong.
(That is the back of Rep. Paul Ryan's head)
For his part, Cantor was classy and gracious. He thanked his fellow members. He thanked his staff. He thanked the people of Richmond and encouraged the assembled national press to visit the River City. He said he wasn't done fighting for the causes he cared about, but it was clear he was done fighting as a Member of Congress.
While there was plenty of criticism of Cantor on the way out, his contribution to the House was recognized as well. He received multiple standing ovations inside a closed door meeting of House members and the loyalty that many of his colleagues have for him appears to have positioned his close friend Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in place to become the next Majority Leader.
Meanwhile, members of the Virginia delegation, like Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News), expressed a degree of concern about the influence Virginia is losing rapidly. In addition to Cantor, two longtime Northern Virginia Representatives Jim Moran (D) and Frank Wolf (R) are both stepping down. Seniority is everything in Washington and Virginia is losing it in a big way.
Scott told me a story about his early days in the Congress when a Speaker of the House was voted out of office from Washington State. He said the voters there thought they were electing a new Speaker. No- they were electing the 435th member of Congress. That is the same exact same position Eric Cantor's replacement will come in.
But if Dave Brat's supporters were hoping to shake up the political world, they did. And in a big way. NBC's Luke Russert told me in addition to key pieces of legislation now being taken off the table. Cantor's loss could resonate all the way into the 2016 race for president.
For now the focus is on the final days of Eric Cantor as Central Virginia's congressman. A job he promised to stay in until his term is up at the end of the year.
What comes next for him is unknown. Perhaps even in the Cantor household.