Election 2014

Who Is Dave Brat? Take a Look at the Ayn Rand Loving, Immigration Reform Hating, Cato Institute Referencing Man Who Beat Eric Cantor

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Who is Dave Brat? That's the question that literally every national news outlet seems to be asking right now. The Randolph-Macon College economics professor was little-known nationally until he unexpectedly beat Republican Rep. Eric Cantor last night in the Virginia primaries—the first time a sitting House Majority leader has lost his own's party's vote since the position was created in 1899. 

Brat will now face off against Democrat Jack Trammell—also a professor at Randolph-Macon—in November to become the new representative for Virginia's 7th congressional district. So just what do we know about this guy?

Here's a fun fact: Brat has published papers titled "Adam Smith's God and the End of Economics," "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand," "God and Advanced Mammon—Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?" and "The Moral Foundations of Capitalism, From the Great Generation to Financial Crisis." 

But while he's for free markets, Brat's not so keen on other aspects of a free society. Here's a quick overview on the man who beat Eric Cantor. 

Brat Basics: Brat lives in Henrico County, Virginia with his wife and two children, ages 15 and 11. He's one of the last of the baby-boom babies—born in 1964, Brat celebrates his 50th birthday this July. At Randolph-Macon, a small liberal arts college, Brat teaches economics and ethics and chaired the Economics and Business department for the past six years. Brat himself studied economics at American University and divinity at the Princeton Theological Seminary. 

Brat's Campaign: Though Brat is being painted as the "Tea Party candidate" in this race, he didn't have major Tea Party support, failing to secure endorsements from big groups such as Freedomworks or the Tea Party Patriots. Ultimately, he raised just over $200,000 for his campaign, according to The New York Times

Brat's Views: Pro-market: In an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Brat answered a question about minimum wage by responding, "I'm a free-market guy. Our labor markets right now are already distorted from too many regulations. I think Cato estimates there's $2 trillion of regulatory problems and then throw Obamacare on top of that….There's just distortion after distortion after distortion." 

Pro-privacy: Brat supports "the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA," and says National Security Agency data collection efforts are a violation of the Fourth Amendment. 

Deeply religious: A Catholic, Brat's bio describes him as being "a man of deep faith." Upon winning Tuesday, Brat told AP: "This is a miracle from God that just happened." 

Anti-immigration: Brat says we need to "secure the border," and that allowing more people into America would "lower wage rates for the working person." He opposes amnesty and other current immigration reform efforts, and contrasting himself with Cantor on these issues was a major focus of Brat's campaign.

Randian: Brat is director of Randolph-Macon's BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism program, which teaches free-market economics and the ideas of Ayn Rand to students.

Pro-"war is peace": On his campaign page, Brat lists among his core beliefs that "peace is best preserved through a strong national defense."

Miscellaneous  From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Brat was so unknown that his Wikipedia entry was only two sentences before Tuesday night. 

From Vox.com:

Cantor's campaign spent over $168,000 just at steakhouses—which appears to be more than Brat spent on his entire campaign.

From Brat's campaign website:

I support a full investigation into the Benghazi attacks.

From Politico:

Dave Brat…earned a red chili pepper for hotness from students on RateMyProfessor.com. He's "total eye candy," one commenter wrote.