Despite some high-profile losses, it’s been a great night for the Republicans and a great one for Rep. Eric Cantor.

Cantor’s easy reelection victory and the GOP conquest of the House – according to several network projections – mean he’s now in line to become Majority Leader, second only to Rep. John Boehner, who is expected to easily win the Speakers position.

It’s not seemly to blow one’s own horn, but what the heck: in 2001 I interviewed the political newcomer in his Capitol Hill office and I wrote that he had an unusual ambition: to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House.

He’s right on track to meet that goal, but Cantor’s ascent through the GOP leadership ranks was faster than I imagined. Currently he is Minority Whip, and the GOP victory puts him only one step away from the top slot.

A talented politician? You bet.

“He put together a game plan that has worked very well for him within his own party,” said Kean University political scientist Gilbert Kahn. “He’s cultivated the right forces, and he’s the heir apparent. It’s a remarkable achievement for a Jew in the Republican Party, and it means there will be a major Jewish force in the top congressional leadership.”