BY: Ryan Nobles
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico) has had challengers before. Most of them he has easily swatted away. Dr. David Brat, an often quoted economics professor from Randolph Macon College hopes he is different.
Brat launched a challenge to Cantor today with events across Central Virginia (two of which were actually held outside of the 7th congressional district). Brat had been planning a run against Cantor for sometime- he signaled his intentions to NBC12 before the holidays.
His official announcement, given to the conservative National Review sent ripples through the beltway media.
But even if Brat can impress Washington, D.C. conservatives, it is people here in Central Virginia he will have to convince. It is a group that has solidly supported Cantor long enough for him to rise to a very powerful position in Congress.
We asked Brat about the challenge he has in front of him Thursday on NBC12 First at 4:
Among Brat's many challenges will be running against a GOP establishment solidly behind Cantor. That includes people Brat has worked with in the past. He has served as a policy advisor to Sen. Walter Stosch. Stosch considers both men friends but told me that he will support Cantor over Brat.
Here is what Stosch told me about the primary race:
Brat argues that while Cantor is powerful, he hasn't been using the powers to benefit his constituents. He is hoping to make the case that his economic views will do more to reign in the country's sky rocketing debt and deficits.
While he is pushing Cantor from the right, his focus will not be social issues as is traditionally the case in GOP primaries. Expect his campaign to present Brat as an intellectual Tea Party alternative to Cantor.
At the very least, it should be fun to watch. Stay tuned.