Who Is David Brat?

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By Reid J. Epstein,

from The Wall Street Journal,

Who is David Brat?

The college economics professor is suddenly the tea party’s newest star after toppling House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) in a primary Tuesday. Mr. Brat’s victory is the biggest House primary upset in generations – and wasn’t predicted by anyone, including Mr. Brat.

With nearly all of the votes counted, Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.

“God acted through people on my behalf,” Mr. Brat told Fox News during an interview Tuesday night. “It’s an unbelievable miracle.”

And it’s not like Mr. Brat had a lot of mortal help. National groups like the Club for Growth that aim to pick off Republicans who stray from strict party orthodoxy didn’t get involved. Mr. Cantor outraised Mr. Brat $5.7 million to $231,000. The only national conservative figure to help Mr. Brat was talk radio host Laura Ingraham, who touted him on the air and hosted a rally for him last week.

Mr. Brat’s victory, Ms. Ingraham said, was fueled by “fury with the GOP establishment on fiscal issues and immigration.” He campaigned on opposing the 2008 government bailout program, the budget deal reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and a general sense that leadership ignored the little people, she said.

“The lives of most Americans aren’t getting any better year after year,” Ms. Ingraham said. “Their wages are down or flat as the cost of living is going up. And for the past two years they’ve seen Eric Cantor focus an inordinate amount of time on how to improve the lives of illegal immigrants. So why should they be expected to return the same politicians back to Washington election after election? Eric Cantor was perceived as arrogant and disconnected–and voters thought it was time that he try to find a real job in this lousy economy.”

Mr. Brat campaigned as a stark opponent of comprehensive immigration reform. To Fox, he couched his opposition to immigration reform as part of a broader theme accusing Mr. Cantor as being too allied with corporate interests.

“The issue is the Republican Party has been paying way too much attention to Wall Street and not enough attention to Main Street,” Mr. Brat said.

Mr. Brat was so unknown that his Wikipedia entry was only two sentences before Tuesday night. Reached by phone before the Associated Press declared him the winner, Mr. Brat said only, “I’m going into the celebration party right now.”

An economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., Mr. Brat appeared more interested in campaigning to make a point than in winning. The Washington Post reported last month that he no-showed meetings with key conservative activists in the capital. His excuse: He had final exams to grade.

Mr. Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, who is a professor and the director of disability support services at Randolph-Macon College, the same school where Mr. Brat teaches.

here are clues to Mr. Brat’s ideology in his academic CV. His current book project is titled “Ethics as Leading Economic Indicator? What went Wrong? Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition and Human Reason.”

His other published works include the titles “God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” and “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.”

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