Scalise may benefit from Virginia upset

A big political upset in the Republican primary in Virginia Tuesday night means Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise could move up in the U.S. House leadership ranks.

The fall of No. 2 House Republican Eric Cantor has rocked the party leadership. TV stations in Richmond had to rush to catch the speeches of the two candidates - because nobody was covering the race.

But speculation immediately turned to who fills the void. The N.Y. Times, Politico and others speculated that Scalise will try to move up in the ranks.

On Wednesday, the National Journal quoted two sources as saying that Scalise will run for House minority whip, the No. 3 job behind the speaker and majority leader.

Scalise now chairs the powerful Republican Study Committee, which is the main voice of conservatives in the House.

As for Cantor, his defeat is a bombshell. It's apparently the first time a majority leader has been knocked off in a re-election bid since the office was created in 1899 – when McKinley was president.

In his concession speech Tuesday night, Cantor, who was the most conservative member of the top leadership, tried to rally conservative voters.

"We wanna create a Virginia and America that works for everybody, and we need to focus our efforts as conservatives as Republicans on putting forth our conservative solutions," Cantor said.

Analysts said Cantor realized too late that he was in trouble, and that little-known economics professor David Brat posed a serious challenge.

One of the beneficiaries could be Scalise. The Republican Study Committee has 172 members. That doesn't mean all of them fall in line - but it certainly gives him a platform.

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