Tea Party activist who defeated Cantor
focused on budget, immigration
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[June 11, 2014]
By Emily Stephenson
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
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
Brat defeated Cantor even though the majority leader had a huge
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.
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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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