Dr. David Brat (R) went from mild mannered college professor in sleepy Ashland, VA a place that ironically dubs itself to the "Center of the Universe", to the center of the cauldron of national politics in a matter of weeks.
Brat is challenging House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) in the GOP primary for Virginia's 7th District. He is not well known, not well financed and is taking on the most powerful Republican in Virginia and one of the most powerful politicians in America.
It is not going too far to say that Brat is hoping to pull off the impossible.
(Brat with talk show host Laura Ingraham)
Even if he falls short of an upset, in fact even if he gets destroyed next Tuesday, Brat has already had an impact. There is no question he has pushed Cantor to the right on issues like immigration and exposed a weakness in the longtime congressman's connection to the ardent Tea-Party wing of the party.
But while Brat throws accusations at Cantor and the one time Young Gun's political team returns fire with a nuclear weapons sized gauntlet of negative ads, not much has been reported about Brat the candidate and Brat the man.
Dave Brat was born in the midwest and attended college in Michigan. He has a Master's degree in divinity from Princeton and earned his PHd in economics from American University. He has been a professor at Randolph Macon since 1996.
While Brat has always had an interest in government his experience in direct elective politics is minimal. He put his name in for nomination to replace former Del. Bill Janis for the House of Delegates in 2011 but lost out to the current Del. Peter Ferrall. He has also has served as an adviser to Hanover State Senator Walter Stoch.
Brat has always been on the right of the political spectrum, but as a college professor he finds himself in a weird position. He is undoubtedly the most conservative person at most of his academic cocktail parties, but in a primary for congress in the Republican party he can be tagged as a "liberal" in negative tv ads.
Brat is a pure supply side economic conservative. He trusts the market's invisible hand and believes the less government intervention the better. He would also be a pretty reliable vote for most social conservatives, but he certainly isn't looking to make that his calling card.
While Brat has accepted and appreciates the support he has received from Tea Party loyalists in the 7th district, the candidate himself wouldn't go so far as to attach himself to that label.
What Brat is hoping to present himself as is a classic Republican. A candidate and eventually congressman who adheres to the GOP creed and will go to Washington to shake up the establishment, but not become a part of it. The message has resonated with national conservative talk show hosts, like Laura Ingraham who held a rally that drew more than 600 people to a country club literally in Eric Cantor's neighborhood.
But just how far has that message gone? Is it enough to convince voters to dump a man like Cantor who wields incredible influence and is in line to become the next Speaker of the House?
Probably not. But in an unpredictable primary- of which zero polling data has been made public- we have no idea what to expect.
Here is Jessica Jaglois's story from the Ingraham Rally from Tuesday night for NBC12:
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A local candidate for Congress is getting support from a national radio host. Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham was in Henrico Tuesday night at a rally for Dave Brat.
Brat is taking on one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress: incumbent Eric Cantor, who's held the 7th District Seat since 2001. So, it's an uphill battle for the college professor turned politician.
So will Ingraham's support turn into votes for Dave Brat? He and his supporters are counting on it.
At the rally, held at the Dominion Club in Glen Allen, Ingraham said she wants Central Virginia and the country to know that she's a member of "The Brat Pack."
Congressional candidate Dave Brat is behind in fundraising and relatively unknown, especially compared to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
"Dave Brat is someone with integrity and great courage to take on the Washington establishment," she said. "As far as I can tell, the only thing Eric Cantor is known for right now is his name, his money and the fact that he has a huge amount of backing from big business."
Brat has been a professor at Randolph-Macon for nearly twenty years. He went to seminary school and has a PhD in economics. He's also served two Governors on the Joint Advisory Board of Economics.
Still, he's the underdog in a race that seemingly has Cantor's name written on it.
"There's a rule for the big shots and then there's a whole other set of rules for the average person," he said. "I've been that average person."
Brat says, that's what America needs, which Ingraham echoes fervently. For the Republican allies, they say the time for change is now.
"It's not personal," Brat said. "I'm not running against Eric Cantor but I'm running against folks who stay up there too long and turn from the District to represent folks up in DC."
... you and read and see Jessica's full story on NBC12.com.
UPDATE: Ingraham responded to our story with the following tweet:
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We will profile Rep. Eric Cantor on Friday on NBC12 and DecisionVirginia.com