Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Brat Could See Barrage of GOP Opponents in 2016

David Brat, the Republican college professor who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a historic upset Tuesday, shouldn’t get too comfortable.

While Brat is the heavy favorite to win in Virginia’s solidly Republican 7th District in November, he would start his congressional career with a bull’s-eye on his back from fellow Richmond-area Republicans.

And with state legislative elections falling in odd years, anyone who wanted to wage a primary bid against Brat in 2016 would get a free pass — able to keep their positions in the state Senate and House of Delegates.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Brat’s team, but there was an element of, this guy wasn’t Eric Cantor,” one Virginia GOP operative said of Brat’s win, suggesting it was more of an anti-Cantor repudiation than a pro-Brat vote.

GOP operatives in the state rattled off a handful of Republicans who would be most likely to wade into a primary with Brat. They are:

State Sen. Steve Martin: Martin lost to Cantor by less than 300 votes in a GOP primary in the 7th District in 2000 — the last time the seat was open. The race was bitter, and according to Republicans in the state, the chasm it created amid Virginia GOP circles took a long time to heal.

Former Del. Bill Janis: A former lawmaker from Henrico County, Janis is an ally of Cantor. Cantor recently backed Janis’ failed independent bid for Henrico County attorney.

Del. Peter Farrell: Farrell’s legislative district also encompasses a chunk of the 7th District. Farrell actually defeated Brat in 2011 to become the GOP nominee in his legislative district. Farrell has ties to money and influence — his father is CEO of Dominion Virginia Power.

To be sure, Republican operatives say talk of potential primary challengers is all dependent on what Brat does when he — likely — heads to Congress in January.

“This just makes the area more volatile right now,” another longtime Virginia Republican operative said. “He could easily get tossed out in two years because he’s decided to go to Washington to be a … firebrand rather than somebody who does something. The 7th District will not tolerate [that].”

Virginia’s 7th District is a Safe Republican seat. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried it by a 15-point margin in 2012.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    THE REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATIC PARTIES, HAVE BOTH FAILED THE 3 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS STILL WITHOUT AN EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE BEEN TOTALLY INEFFECTIVE TO GET THIS MUCH NEEDED BILL PASSED IN THE SENATE. WHILE BILLIONS OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY CONGRESS IN AID FOR THE UKRAINE, MILLIONS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES HAVE FELL INTO FINANCIAL RUIN WAITING FOR HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT, WHICH STILL HASN’T COME. THESE FAMILIES HAVE HAD TO FACE EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE HOLDING THE EXTENSION BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE, FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE, AND PARTY AGENDA. OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE ABANDONED THESE 3 MILLION FAMILIES, AND HAVE LEFT THEM HUNG OUT TO DRY, WITH NO SUPPORT. WHERE IS THEIR COMPASSION, AND COMMON DECENCY?

    • View From The Left

      You are wrong when you say that Democrats have failed “more than 2.6 million unemployed families” by not voting for extended benefits for families. Democrats have been fighting EVERY STEP OF THE WAY to try to bring you relief, it has been the REPUBLICANS that have failed you as they have purposely and intentionally STOPPED the extended benefits bill from moving forward because, well frankly because they hate President Obama so much and are so terrified that America will see him in a positive light that they are even willing to screw 2.6 million Americans to try to prevent it.
      Good luck to you,brother, I’ve been there and it’s scary. Hold on, rely on friends and family because as you’re learning now, you can’t rely on government – at least while Republicans control either house of Congress.

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