Jonathan Lawrence retired in 2013 after eight years as Nancy Pelosi's chief of staff. In that position, he spent a lot of time working with his counterparts in John Boehner's office. On his blog, he imagines how they're feeling tonight:
That there is no love lost between Cantor and the House Speaker is not an especially well-kept secret. What makes tonight's upset defeat delightfully ironic is that Cantor, who has spent the last three and a half years whipping up right wing dissatisfaction against Boehner's alleged moderation, is himself the victim of accusations of collaboration. In the past, I have directly heard quiet comments from those in Boehnerland whenever Cantor's bravado and snarky style got him into trouble. Tonight, I imagine, the atmosphere in the Speaker's Office is unadulterated glee.
Lawrence also sees an upside for campaign-finance reformers in Cantor's ouster. It's proof that money doesn't always buy victory:
If there is a serious silver lining in Cantor's defeat, it is that money does not always determine the outcome of elections. Brat reportedly spent about $200,000, although that doubtless was supplemented by lots of independent expenditures that targeted Cantor, like the PAC formed by Brat's former strategist. Still, Cantor had more than $5 million that couldn't defy a grassroots uprising. Somewhere, campaign reform activists must be smiling, although grimly.
My guess, though, is that most members of Congress will respond to tonight's election by trying to raise even more money and making sure they use it to bury even the most hapless of challengers.