It's a faceoff between the man who toppled Eric Cantor, and the man whose Virginia roots go back to the 1600s.
Dave Brat and Jack Trammell will debate tonight at 7:30, and if you live from the West End to Louisa, here's a closer look at who could be your next member of Congress.
It's one of the most high-profile races in the country. Brat and Trammell, both Randolph-Macon professors, are battling over who will replace Eric Cantor.
Brat is an economist who's worked with two Virginia governors, and the World Bank. Getting the country's checkbook balanced is his first priority. Asked about the challenge, Brat said in a recent interview, “Yeah, no, it's a huge… It's a $127 trillion challenge, right? It's huge, but the promise I made is to go to the people.”
And the people, across Richmond and nine counties, are also listening to Jack Trammell, whose ancestor arrived in Alexandria, back in 1671. A teacher for 25 years, Trammell's priorities focus on education and the economy.
But after his stepson Daniel was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, Trammell now also focuses on fixing the VA System.
“We were relieved that he was alive. But we were really terrified at the prospects of what this would mean for him and what we would have to go through to get him well again,” Trammell said.
Brat is a professor of ethics, and has a Masters in Divinity from Princeton. He says his faith plays a major role in forming fair policies from immigration to the economy.
In a 2011 paper, Brat wrote, “We need to synthesize Christianity and capitalism.” About that, Brat said, “What I'm trying to get at is the relationship between having moral foundations for our politics, moral foundations for our press, moral foundations for our economics.”
The foundations for education are also an issue. Trammell believes states should be in charge of student standards. “We should return some control to school districts and to states, so that if schools are going to struggle, they have the freedom to move the pieces on the board to try to address some of their issues,” he said.
Asked how the candidates would be different from Eric Cantor, Brat said, “I pledged to put in a fair or a flat tax, to end kind of the special treatment up on K Street, Wall Street, and to make the tax system much simpler for the individual out there watching, and to get our economy growing again.”
For both of them, they'll try to make a break from a “do-nothing” Congress.
“My job for 25 years has been to work with parents, to work with psychologists and instructors and professors,” Trammell said. “And we don't leave the room until we have something in place that's going to help that student."