Meet the Guy Who Just Beat Eric Cantor

Economics professor David Brat pulls off huge upset
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2014 1:07 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2014 7:58 AM CDT
Meet the Guy Who Just Beat Eric Cantor
David Brat displays an immigration mailer by Congressman Eric Cantor during a press conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. last month.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Who is David Brat, the Tea Party candidate who set off a "political earthquake" by defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a GOP primary? Here's some of what's known about the political novice, as per Politico, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post:

  • The 49-year-old is a Michigan native, married with two teenage children, and he has worked as an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., for the last 18 years.
  • He was massively outraised by his rival. Cantor—whose internal polling had him up 34 points last week—raised $5.4 million this cycle, while Brat had only raised $206,000 by mid-May, according to his last FEC filing. Underscoring that point, NBC reports that Brat spent $122,000 on his entire campaign through May 21; Cantor, meanwhile, spent $168,000 in the same period—at steakhouses alone.

  • His campaign manager is just 23 (as of last month). Writes the Washington Examiner of Zachary Werrell, he "interviewed for the gig at a Panera restaurant and has been sleeping on the couch of his mentor."
  • Brat had the backing of Tea Party heavyweights including Laura Ingraham, but says the race was about more than the Tea Party versus the GOP establishment. After his victory, he said he had won support from Republicans attracted by his fiscal conservatism and "faith in God."
  • He isn't the "liberal economics professor" Cantor's campaign labelled him as. FactCheck found that he has always portrayed himself as very conservative—and his research includes a study called "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand."
  • In November, he will be running against a colleague, fellow Randolph-Macon professor Jack Trammell.
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