Tea Party activist who defeated Cantor focused on budget, immigration

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:12am EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tea Party Republican Dave Brat, who defeated House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary race on Tuesday, is an economics professor from a tiny Virginia college who attacked Cantor over immigration and budget issues.

Brat describes himself a budget expert on his campaign website, saying he "presents a major problem for liberals who try to continue increased government spending by discrediting conservatives."

During the primary campaign, Brat referred to himself as a "term limit" for Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican.

In ads, Brat accused the majority leader of "giving citizenship papers to illegal immigrants."

Cantor has said he opposes amnesty for undocumented immigrants but that Republicans could work with President Barack Obama on some border security reforms. He has said he was open to giving legal status to some undocumented children brought to the United States by their parents.

The immigration issue helped Brat win endorsements from notable conservatives such as Ann Coulter, who called Cantor "amnesty-addled" in a column for right-wing news site Townhall.com. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham also campaigned for Brat in Virginia and slammed Cantor on immigration.

Brat, a professor in the economics and business department at Randolph-Macon College near Richmond, has also accused Cantor of not doing enough to fight Obama's signature healthcare initiative known as "Obamacare."

Brat defeated Cantor even though the majority leader had a huge fundraising advantage.

As of mid-May, Brat had raised only about $200,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Cantor raised more than $5.4 million for this election cycle. 

In May, Brat missed planned meetings with national conservative leaders because he had to prepare for final exams, the Washington Post reported at the time.

But Brat's attacks on Cantor over immigration and the debt ceiling attracted support from conservatives in the majority leader's suburban Virginia district. Cantor was booed by some attendees at the seventh district's Republican convention in May after he criticized Brat, as seen in a video posted on YouTube.

According to Brat's faculty bio on Randolph-Macon's website, he graduated from Hope College in Michigan in 1986 with a degree in business administration. He later received a Master's in Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in economics from American University in Washington.

His LinkedIn profile shows he did short stints at the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting and consulting firm and at the World Bank before ending up at Randolph-Macon, a private school with about 1,300 students, according to its US News & World Report profile.

Brat and his wife, Laura, have two children, Jonathan, 15 and Sophia, 11, according to the campaign site.

(Editing by Caren Bohan and Robert Birsel)

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Comments (7)
XiroMisho wrote:
I am hoping that, as an economist, Brat here grasps the concepts of the “Virtuous Cycle” that occurs.

I have no issues overruling certain budget decisions. Some money can certainly be diverted from some programs but more education focused programs need to be considered. Education is a primary situation. Currently many college ready students are not going to college because, in all honesty, the cost is too high. The US needs to reinvest in higher education, as well as bring taxes up on the upper end to closer to 50% or 65% – 35% is ridiculously low.

What I’m mentioning here is not insane. Bringing taxes to Pre-Reagan era rates would be what would at least provide the government with some more funding to get their tasks done without borrowing from foreign nations.

I’m not saying the Bush Era tax cuts need to be taken down. We’re way past that. The Reagan Era tax cuts have to be rolled back.

And if you honestly are trying to tell me that “Trickle Down Economics Work” then please, remove yourself from the conversation. they haven’t worked since 1988 and there is 0 reason to consider perusing them.

Consider WHO is telling you trickle down works, btw. Is is an impoverished Middle Class family? No… It’s a wealthy Washington insider who is making an extra 35% profit and spending it… oh wait, he’s not, because they save their money and send it screaming out of this country in foreign investments and currency bonds. Rich folk only buy one or two additional items of something, not multiple items. They only buy 2 or 4 homes.

Our Economy is driven, not by the “Job Creators” who aren’t creating jobs right now because they’re downsizing and making their products more efficient. It’s from the middle class who actually spends their money. And with jobs such as Janitors and Cashiers quickly going away (Thanks iRobot and Self Checkout machines) there is more and more NEED for a highly educated workforce.

So if he is an economics teacher, this should be what he knows. If that’s the case I’m happy to give him my vote.

Jun 11, 2014 4:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
unionwv wrote:
Lawful citizen voters have spoken, loud and clear.

Jun 11, 2014 9:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
astroz wrote:
Thank you NumbersUSA.com and citizens of the 7th district of Virginia!! Citizens are people too….the anything goes amnesty issue is for real and citizens really can impact this issue.

Jun 11, 2014 9:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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