Meet Dave Brat, who shocked the Republican Party establishment by beating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary. He's now favored to win the November election in Virginia's 7th Congressional District based in Richmond.
Brat began teaching at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., a small liberal arts college located north of Richmond, in 1996. He was chairman of its Department of Ethics and Business for six years. Brat's academic specialties include macro growth economics, international trade and finance, economic methodology, history and ethics, according to his curriculum vitae.
Brat earned his bachelor's degree from Hope College in Michigan, then went on to get a master's in divinity from Princeton University. He earned his doctorate in economics from American University.
Adviser to governors
Brat served on the Virginia governor's Joint Advisory Board of Economists, a post he was first appointed to by Democrat Tim Kaine. He continued to serve under Republican Bob McDonnell. Brat has also served on the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, and is a past president of the Virginia Association of Economists.
Brat's political philosophy is pure Tea Party, with its emphasis on the Constitution, small government and fiscal responsibility. "We live in an era of intergenerational theft," Brat says on his campaign website. "We are racking up bills only to hand them off to our children." After being declared the GOP primary winner, Brat said Tuesday night his victory wasn't about him but about "returning the country to its principles."
Campaign money and endorsements
Much has been made about Cantor's huge fundraising advantage. The incumbent had raised more than $5 million for his re-election bid and spent more than $1 million in the last month before Tuesday's primary. Brat raised a little over $200,000, according to finance reports. So how did he win by a whopping 12 percentage points? He was backed by grass-roots groups such as the Richmond Tea Party and conservative radio hosts such as Laura Ingraham, who — like Brat — criticized Cantor's push for an immigration bill.