David Brat

David Brat


Former Position: U.S. House of Representatives (2014- 2018), Virginia 7th District

David Brat 1Information

Web:  brat.house.gov Personal Site
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Washington DC Office: 1628 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2815

Glen Allen Office:  4201 Dominion Blvd, Suite 110
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Phone: (804) 747-4073

Spotsylvania Office: 9104 Courthouse Rd. PO Box 99
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
Phone:  (540) 507-7216

Former positions:

Richmond Metropolitan Authority, Board of Directors
Advisory board of the Virginia Public Access Project


From Candidate site

Economics and Ethics, Proven Results

Dave Brat promised that he would take his background in economics and ethics to Washington, D.C. and get to work on the big issues that matter most to you and your family.  He has kept that promise.  Now, at the start of his second term in Congress, Dave has put in bills to make D.C. more accountable, balance the budget, protect small business, and expand healthcare options for workers and families.  He has voted to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, defund the President’s illegal executive amnesty, and reduce the tax and regulatory burden so that our economy can grow again.

As the only Ph.D. economist in Congress, Dave Brat is uniquely qualified to tackle the current budget crisis we face in America.   Serving on the House Budget Committee, and as a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Dave has been leading the charge in Congress for a more fiscally responsible budget process.

When Congress is not in session, you are likely to find Congressman Brat on the road to a community event in the district or at a town hall, giving one of his famous Washington Updates.  He often speaks in public defending the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Constitutional rule of law and free markets as the best way to lift all people up from poverty.  Our founders were wise enough to choose the free market system and the result is what is arguably the greatest nation that has ever existed.

American Underdog

Dave Brat threw his hat in the political ring after seeing the corruption and back door deals that plague our system.  Almost everyone said it was impossible to unseat a sitting House Majority Leader.  It had never been done before.  But, Dave put his faith, as well as his trust, in the American people—and the voters responded by putting their faith and trust in Dave.  Dave’s stunning election victory not only shook Washington to its core, it stopped the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that was only days from passing the House, and put a halt to amnesty legislation in general.

With help from the voters in the 7th Congressional District, Dave proved that character matters and that standing firmly rooted in your principles does pay off, even when you’re the underdog.

Dave’s Background

Growing up in the rural Midwest, Dave learned the value of faith, family, and a strong work ethic at a young age.  After graduating from Hope College in Michigan, Dave worked at the accounting firm Arthur Andersen and then the World Bank before attending Princeton Theological Seminary, where he obtained a Masters of Divinity degree.   Following that, he earned his Ph.D. in economics from American University, while doing some work in graduate school as an economist for the U.S. Army.

In 1996, Dave and his wife, Laura, moved to Henrico County, VA when Dave began teaching economics at Randolph-Macon College.  Not long after, Dave became Chairman of the Economics and Business Department at the college.

Before joining Congress, Dr. Brat served both Republican and Democratic governors on the Joint Advisory Board of Economists, providing critical economic forecasts to help manage the Commonwealth.  His peers elected him as president of the Virginia Association of Economists.  Dave also served on the Virginia Board of Accountancy, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, The Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, and the investment board overseeing retirement assets for the Virginia Association of Counties.

From Wikipedia

David Alan Brat (/ˈbræt/; born July 27, 1964) is an American economist and member of the United States House of Representatives, serving Virginia’s 7th congressional districtsince 2014. Prior to his election to Congress, Brat was a professor at Randolph–Macon College.

Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the district’s 2014 Republican primary on June 10, 2014.[1] Brat’s primary victory over Cantor made him the first primary challenger to oust a sitting House Majority Leader since the position’s creation in 1899, and is considered one of the biggest upsets in congressional history.[2] He defeated Democratic nominee Jack Trammell on November 4, 2014.

Early life and education

Brat was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 27, 1964. Brat’s father, Paul, was a Doctor of Internal Medicine; his mother, Nancy, was employed as a social worker in Alma, Michigan, where he was raised.  His family moved from Alma to Minnesota when David, the oldest of three boys, was in junior high. Brat graduated from Park Center Senior High School in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Brat attended Hope College in Michigan and received a B.A. in Business Administration in 1986; he also graduated with a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1990 and earned a Ph.D. in economics from American University in 1995.

Academic career

After working for Arthur Andersen and as a consultant for the World Bank, Brat joined the faculty of Randolph–Macon College in 1996, where he served as chair of the department of economics, and taught courses including “Britain in the International Economy”, “International Economic Development”, and “Business Ethics”.

From 2010 to 2012 Brat headed Randolph-Macon’s BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism program, one of sixty similar programs and chairs in the philosophy and economics departments at United States universities devoted to the study of capitalism and morality, endowed by the BB&T Corporation.

In 2006 Brat was appointed by Virginia governor Tim Kaine to the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economists, a position he continues to hold. He has also served on the board of directors of the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, and on the advisory board of the Virginia Public Access Project.

Political career

Special legislative assistant

From 2005 to 2011, Brat worked as a special legislative assistant to Virginia state senator Walter Stosch in the area of higher education. In 2006 he was appointed by Democratic governor Tim Kaine to serve on a bipartisan economic advisory council. He was later reappointed by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.

2011 campaign for Virginia’s 56th House of Delegates seat

In August 2011, Brat announced he was running for the Virginia House of Delegates seat for the 56th district. There was no primary, and six Republican leaders met and chose Peter Farrell, as the Republican nominee in the November 2011 general election.

2014 race for 7th congressional district

Republican primary

Brat ran against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for the Republican nomination forVirginia’s 7th congressional district and defeated Cantor by a 12-point margin. Brat was outspent by Cantor 40 to 1: Cantor spent over $5 million, while Brat raised $200,000 and did not spend all of it. Brat’s primary campaign was managed by 23-year-old Zachary Werrell. An analysis of campaign filings conducted by the Center for Responsive Politic sconcluded that Brat did not receive any donations from political action committees, noting “it’s almost impossible to profile Brat’s typical donor, because he had so few.” Brat’s win was notable, as it was the first time a sitting House Majority Leader was defeated in his primary race since the position was created in 1899.

Compared with Cantor, described as aloof, Brat was characterized as knowing how to work a crowd. He ran an anti-establishment campaign criticizing Cantor’s position on illegal immigration, government bailouts and budget deals while frequently invoking God and the Constitution in his speeches. During the campaign, Cantor criticized Brat as a “liberal professor” who had strong ties to Tim Kaine, Virginia’s former Democratic governor and current junior Senator.

Brat ran well to Cantor’s right, complaining that Cantor had a “crony-capitalist mentality”, putting the interests of the corporate sector ahead of small businesses. Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham endorsed Brat’s candidacy and hosted a rally with him in a Richmond suburb. Brat was also supported by radio talk show host Mark Levin and Ann Coulter.  Chris Peace, a state legislator who collaborated with Brat on state budget issues at Randolph-Macon College, stated that Brat was inspired to run for Congress because of “His passion for the structure of government and belief in free markets.”

Brat’s victory was described in the press as exposing a “deep schism” in the Republican party between its conservative base and its business wing, as well as a split between establishment Republicans and Tea Party insurgents.[33][34][35] Some libertarian oriented groups, such as the Virginia Liberty Party, backed Brat.

Brat received support from, and gave credit for his win to, local Tea Party groups in Virginia, but received no funding or endorsement from national Tea Party organizations. Brat has not self-identified with the Tea Party movement. Ron Rapoport, a political scientist at the College of William & Mary, has said Brat may be correctly identified as a “tea partier” only if the term is used as a catchall for “anti-establishment activist”, while John Judis has opined that Brat could more correctly be described as a “right-wing populist”. Matea Gold in The Washington Post stated, “the fact that Brat took off without the help of those organizations [national tea party groups] now makes it harder for them to claim his victory as their own.”

Although the national media were shocked at Brat’s victory, Richmond-area media outlets had received signs well before the primary that Cantor was in trouble.[40] The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported two weeks before the primary that a number of Cantor’s constituents felt he took them for granted. The Times-Dispatch also revealed that Cantor’s attempt to brand Brat as a liberal professor actually made more people turn out for Brat. The Chesterfield Observer, a local paper serving Chesterfield County—roughly half of which is in the 7th—reported that Tea Party-aligned candidates had won several victories there, and at least one Cantor loyalist believed Tea Party supporters smelled “blood in the water.” One local reporter told David Carr of The New York Times that many constituents believed Cantor was arrogant and unapproachable. However, due to massive cutbacks, the race was severely underpolled by local media. Few Capitol Hill reporters were willing to go to Cantor’s district, for fear that they would be out of Washington in case a major story broke.

General election

Brat faced Democratic nominee Jack Trammell, another professor at Randolph-Macon, and James Carr, the Libertarian candidate, in the November general election.Brat was favored because of the 7th’s significant Republican leaning (the district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+10, showing it to be the most Republican district in eastern Virginia).

According to an article in The Boston Globe, Cantor announced plans to aid Brat by resigning from the United States Congress on August 18, so that a special election could be held on the same day as the general election. Thus the winner, in a race in which Brat was favored, would take office with the perquisite of seniority over other first-term Republicans elected in the 2014 midterm elections and with the ability to participate in the lame-duck session of Congress.

Brat defeated Trammell in that election, with 60.83% of the vote to Trammell’s 36.95%. Libertarian candidate James Carr finished third, with 2.09% of the vote.

2016 race for 7th congressional district

Incumbent Dave Brat defeated Democrat Eileen Bedell with 57.7% of the vote in the general election held November 8, 2016.

Dave Brat was sworn in on November 12, 2014 to finish Eric Cantor’s term.

On January 6, 2015, Brat was one of twenty-five House Republicans to vote against John Boehner’s re-election as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Boehner, who needed at least 205 votes, was re-elected with 216 votes. Though Brat supported Boehner earlier, he reversed his support after the House GOP leadership did not allow him to make an amendment to block a controversial executive order signed by President Barack Obama in a spending bill.

Brat faced heckling by 150 constituents at a “raucous” town hall meeting in the small town of Blackstone, Virginia, on February 21, 2017. Angry constituents questioned Brat on the border wall, health care, and President Trump’s policies. Several of Brat’s supporters left the meeting early. Brat was criticized for not meeting with his constituents because he claimed there were paid protesters among them. On January 28, at a meeting held at Hanover Tavern with “the GOP-friendly audience”, he had lamented that, “[s]ince Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go. They come up — ‘When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input.” He also urged his fellow conservatives at the Tavern, “to write newspaper articles because “we’re getting hammered.” Brat had considered running in the 2018 election. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus.

In November 2017, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a campaign staffer was using her personal Facebook profile to debate commenters on his Facebook posts.[55] The woman did not identify herself as a paid campaign staffer. When asked about this, Brat said, “Her job is to clarify issues. And put out my policy positions from my vantage point. It’s not to argue with people.”Brat had another run in with social media on March 1, 2018, when it was discovered that his campaign Twitter account had “liked” several controversial tweets, including one that questioned whether one of the survivors of the Parkland school shooting, David Hogg was a “crisis actor”. After an outcry from concerned constituents, Brat’s office issued a statement that attributed the likes to a campaign staffer when they believed they were logged onto their personal account. He also stated that safeguards were being put in place to ensure it did not happen again.

Economic views

Brat asserts that culture matters in economic markets. He believes that the culture that produced Adam Smith was a Protestant culture and that fact and the ethics of that culture are important in understanding market efficiency. Brat advocated that Christians should more forcefully support free-market capitalism and behave more altruistically, in the manner of Jesus, so that “we would not need the government to backstop every action we take.”

According to Kevin Roose in a New York Magazine article, Brat “sees free-market economics as being intricately linked to ethics and faith and he makes the case that Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory, should be seen in the context of Christianity”. Furthering the central theme of Max Weber’s seminal book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Brat argues in his 2004 paperEconomic Growth and Institutions: The Rise and Fall of the Protestant Ethic? that “institutions such as religion, democracy and government anti-diversion policies all significantly enhance a country’s long-run economic performance,” and concludes that “the religion variable may be the strongest ex ante, exogenous institutional variable in the literature.”

In a paper titled Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Bernanke Seriously, Brat criticized Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, asserting that Bernanke’s work on economic growth overlooks religious institutions – in particular Protestant – in a country’s economic growth, and that while savings rates, population growth, and human capital accumulation help drive economic growth, the larger factor is “the Protestant religious establishment”, which Bernanke ignores.

Brat has blamed the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany on the lack of “unified resistance”, adding, “I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily.” Brat believes that countries with Protestant pasts have economic advantages over countries that do not, and that Protestantism “provides an efficient set of property rights and encourages a modern set of economic incentives” that often lead to “positive economic performance”. He believes in Christ as a transformer of culture, and that capitalism is the key to world transformation, which can be achieved when capitalism and Christianity merge; if people follow the gospel, and as a consequence behave more morally, he argues, then the markets will improve.

Zack Beauchamp from Vox Media has said that Brat believes that “most economists are motivated by philosophy rather than science: they’re secretly utilitarians who believe that the goal of public policy is to produce the greatest good for the greatest number.”Although Brat has stated he does not identify as a Randian, he has acknowledged having been influenced by Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged and has expressed appreciation of Ayn Rand’s case for human freedom and capitalism.

Committee Assignments

Campaign Finance

2016U.S. House, Virginia District 7Won$1,256,600
2014U.S. House (Virginia District 7)Won$1,469,112
Grand Total Raised$2,725,712
Source: Follow the Money

Recent Election Results


RepublicanDave Brat148,02660.83%
DemocraticJack Trammell89,91436.95%
LibertarianJames Carr5,0862.09%
Total votes243,351100%
Republican hold


RepublicanDavid Brat (incumbent)218,05757.71%-3.12%
Eileen Bedell160,15942.24%+5.29%
Total votes379,163100.00%+ 135,812
Republican holdSwingN/A

Policy Positions

Civil Rights

Human Trafficking

We must do all we can to end the scourge of human trafficking. As I have met with local law enforcement and health care professionals, I have learned more about how this modern day slavery is happening right here in the 7th District and what they are doing to fight it. In Congress, I worked with Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri to pass the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The legislation gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools to hold websites accountable for supporting the sale of sex trafficking victims. Since it passed, the Department of Justice has been able to shut down many sex trafficking websites. Banks have closed the accounts of internet traffickers. Experts believe online demand for commercials sex has been driven down substantially. And victims’ shelters are reporting double the intake of self-referrals.

Uphold Human Life

Human life is sacred, as proclaimed by our founding documents, and I will always support laws that protect life. Our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness precede the existence of government and come from God, the Author of Nature. These core constitutional rights have been usurped by the Judicial and Executive Branches and must be returned to the people and their representatives.
Read more about Dave’s support for life, including legislative actions

Individual Freedoms

The federal government’s abuse of our freedoms has spun out of control. Whether it is the NSA violating our Fourth Amendment Rights by collecting phone records, the IRS violating our First Amendment rights by targeting conservative organizations, or President Obama violating our Fifth Amendment rights with the indefinite detention of American citizens, our freedoms have been under attack and they must be restored.

Defense & Security

Ronald Reagan said it best: “Peace through strength.” A strong military is essential to the success of our nation.  We must secure our borders, support the Armed Forces, both at home and abroad, and maintain a strong national defense in order to secure our country’s future.  This year, Congress passed legislation to give our troops the biggest pay raise they have received in almost a decade.

2nd Amendment

I will oppose any efforts to undermine or limit the constitutional right to bear arms.

I am a strong supporter of gun rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution for a reason – it provides the people with the ultimate guarantee of sovereignty. I will oppose any back door attempts to confiscate guns or create a national gun registry. All too frequently, the knee-jerk reaction to tragedies by the media and chattering class is to move to restrict our rights. In Congress, I will be a steady and firm supporter of our Second Amendment rights at all times – not just when it is convenient. Our founding documents make it clear that our inalienable rights come from God and that the job of the government is to ensure and protect those God-given rights. I intend to keep it that way.


Term Limits

I am a strong proponent of term limits for members of Congress. Career politicians and special moneyed interests have corrupted our democratic system.  I pledge to support and submit legislation that enforces term limits. Ideally, congressional term limits would be for 12 years total, across both House and Senate. Thus, I pledge to term limit myself to 12 years in Congress.

Tenth Amendment

The federal government has grown far too large. Our Founders envisioned a nation in which the federal government’s powers were explicitly listed and limited to protect our liberty. I fully support the Constitution and enforcing the Tenth Amendment and getting the government out of the way of economic growth.  I will work to bring power back to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Economy & Jobs

Our national debt has skyrocketed, reaching over $21 trillion dollars. What our leaders in Washington fail to mention is the $127 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities (see U.S. Debt Clock). This lack of leadership on both sides of the aisle threatens our nation’s stability and long term growth and forces an undue burden on our children and grandchildren. We must balance the federal budget by reducing spending. I have introduced a balanced budget amendment which will force Congress to rein in the out-of-control federal spending and restore confidence in the American economy.

I support a full audit of the Federal Reserve System.


As an economist and educator for 18 years, I understand the value of a good education. This is why I oppose top-down approaches by the federal government such as Common Core and No Child Left Behind. I will support efforts to place Virginia’s teachers, parents, and local officials who best understand the needs of the community in control of our education system.

Energy & Environment

I support a broad-spectrum energy approach that relies on the free market.  The private sector must be set free to invest in natural gas, wind, solar, oil, nuclear, and other forms of energy as we move forward.  Ending our reliance on foreign oil and moving toward energy independence is vital to the future of America.


Obamacare has proven to be an economically disastrous law and an unconstitutional power grab by our federal government. The government cannot and should not be permitted to run and regulate nearly 20% of our nation’s economy. We must restore the relationship between doctor and patient. We must restore the relationship between price and service in medicine or we will continue on the Road to Serfdom. I support a plan to defund the law and replace it with free-market solutions that lower costs, improve quality, and increase access to care.


When addressing the issue of immigration, we must start by securing our border.  An open border is both a national security threat and an economic threat that our country cannot ignore. I reject any proposal that grants amnesty and undermines the fundamental rule of law. Adding millions of workers to the labor market will force wages to fall and jobs to be lost. I supported legislation that will secure our border, enforce our current laws, and restore an orderly and fair process to allow law-abiding individuals to work towards becoming citizens of this great nation. I also introduced legislation to address asylum reform to ensure families stay together at the border.


Social Security

We must keep the federal government’s promise to our seniors.  As an economist, I know that our current financial path is unsustainable.  By our federal government’s own calculations, Medicare and Social Security will run out of money in less than 20 years.  I have pledged to prevent cuts to Medicare and Social Security for seniors while working on reforms to ensure these programs stay solvent for years to come.


Curator Aircasts

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Rep. David Brat: The Tax Bill Might Not Pay For Itself But The Economy Will | CNBC
Published: Dec. 19. 2017  By CNBC

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Sept. 2018

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