Former VCU professor upsets Cantor for Senate seat

Matt Leonard
Online News Editor

The Republican primaries saw a big upset on Monday with former VCU economics professor, Dr. Dave Brat, beating out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Associated Press reports.

More than 65,000 people came out to vote in the 7th district Republican primaries. When polls closed, Brat walked away with 55 percent of the votes.

Brat was able to bring in thousands more votes than Cantor with a comparatively small amount of funding. Brat and his supporters raised $300,000, while Cantor had a immense $5.4 million, which he unloaded on a TV campaign, according to CNN.

“This is a miracle from God,” Brat said in his acceptance speech. “”The reason we won this campaign, there is just one reason, and that’s because dollars do not vote — you do.”

Just down the road from Brat’s acceptance speech, Cantor was conceding. “Obviously we’ve come up short,” he said to a crowd of his supporters.

Backed by the Tea Party, Brat is a staunch opponent of immigration reform, an issue many say was the pivotal one in this election.

“I reject any proposal that grants amnesty and undermines the fundamental rule of law,” Brat’s website reads. “Adding millions of workers to the labor market will force wages to fall and jobs to be lost.”

Brat will face Democrat and fellow Randolph-Macon professor, Dr. Jack Trammell, in the November election.

Brat’s professorship at Randolph-Macon began in 1996, but between 1999 and 2001 he also served as an instructor of economics at VCU.

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, focused on Cantor in a statement after the election.

“[Cantor is] a good friend and a great leader, and someone I’ve come to rely upon on a daily basis,” Speaker Boehner said, according to the AP.

After expecting to go into November facing Cantor, some say Trammell’s chances now appear better.

“With Cantor’s loss, Trammell suddenly finds himself on a much more level playing field — facing, in Brat, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor and a candidate with a much leaner bankroll than Cantor’s,” said Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis.

The 7th district is historically solidly Republican. The last Democrat elected in the district was Mark Warner to a Senate seat in 2008.

Many suggest Cantor lost because he was not conservative enough on issues such as immigration. If this is the case, Trammell will have to convince the 7th district why they should stray from their historical roots.

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