Tea Party’s Brat to be sworn in Nov. 12

Joey Matthews | 11/6/2014, 5:55 a.m.
Republican Dave Brat, a darling of the ultraconservative Tea Party movement, easily topped Democrat Jack Trammell in Tuesday’s 7th District ...

Republican Dave Brat, a darling of the ultraconservative Tea Party movement, easily topped Democrat Jack Trammell in Tuesday’s 7th District House of Representatives race.

The victory by the 50-year-old economics professor at Randolph-Macon College sends a representative to Congress who has pledged to oppose President Obama’s progressive agenda at every turn.

According to unofficial results, Dr. Brat won 147,897 votes — or about 61 percent of the total votes cast — thrashing Dr. Trammell, who garnered 89,795 votes, or about 37 percent.

James Carr, a Libertarian Party candidate, won more than 5,000 votes, or 2 percent of the total.

The traditionally Republican-voting district stretches from Richmond’s West End through most of Henrico County, and includes a large chunk of Chesterfield County and all of Culpeper, Goochland, Hanover, Louisa, New Kent, Orange and Spotsylvania counties.

One illustration of just how thoroughly Dr. Brat dominated the election: In Richmond, a traditional Democratic stronghold, Dr. Brat topped Dr. Trammell with 6,504 votes, or 49 percent of the total, compared with 6,457 votes, or 48.6 percent, for Dr. Trammell.

Dr. Brat also won handily in surrounding Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties, each by 15 or more percentage points.

Less than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, Dr. Brat was declared the victor.

“We’ve shown the country that we can still make our voices heard and that we still have a government of the people, by the people and for the people!” an ebullient Dr. Brat told a packed ballroom at a hotel in western Henrico County filled with Republican state legislators, volunteers, family and friends.

“Free enterprise, equal treatment before the law, fiscal responsibility, constitutional government, a strong national defense and faith in God are the keys to addressing the serious challenges facing our country,” he added.

Dr. Brat won two elections in one — a special election to fill out the remainder of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s term, which ends in January, and then the full, two-year term that follows. He is scheduled to be sworn in Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Among his campaign vows, Dr. Brat has pledged to repeal the president’s signature Affordable Care Act, oppose any minimum wage increase, oppose immigration reform and privatize Social Security, a move many experts predict would put the financial lifeline for senior citizens in peril.

His win over Dr. Trammell, who also is an associate professor at Randolph-Macon in sociology and director of the school’s Disability Support Services, was no surprise.

Dr. Brat followed a scripted, play-it-safe campaign strategy, appealing to the same ultraconservative base that had propelled him to the shocking upset victory over former Rep. Cantor in the June GOP primary.

Dr. Trammell’s campaign never caught fire with the electorate, despite hopes that a large turnout by the district’s 17 percent African-American voters would provide a winning edge. But the margin of defeat was too large for that to have played a role.

Even an appearance Monday in Richmond with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones failed to propel Dr. Trammell to victory on Tuesday.

Dr. Trammell congratulated his longtime Randolph-Macon colleague on the win, and added: “Campaigns end, but the future continues to unfold. Let’s each do our duty to make certain we are ready for it.”

He plans to return to his duties at the college. He and Dr. Brat took a leave of absence during the campaign.