Tea Partier who beat Eric Cantor went to high school in Minnesota


The surprise winner in the Virginia GOP primary against House Republican leader Eric Cantor has Midwestern roots. David Brat, a Tea Party activist who pulled off a one of the most stunning upsets in recent political history in Tuesday's primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District, is a graduate of Park Center High School in Minnesota, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Brat spent his early years in Alma, Michigan. The family moved to Minnesota in 1978 when David, the oldest of three boys, was in junior high and his parents divorced soon after, according to the Morning Sun newspaper of Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Brat's father, Paul, lives in New Brighton.

David went to high school at Park Center and graduated in 1982, according to the Pioneer Press. The 1982 Park Center yearbook lists David Brat's activities as symphonic band, wind ensemble, marching band, National Honor Society, senior class cabinet, debate and varsity tennis, according to the Pioneer Press.

Brat returned to Michigan to attend Hope College.

His father said David didn't talk politics in his high school days.

"He was always in leadership positions. At Hope College, he was the president of the student body for the last two years while he was there," Brat told the Pioneer Press.

David Brat earned a Ph.D. in economics from American University in Washington D.C. and is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia.

Paul Brat said he talked to his son briefly Tuesday night but that "he was so inundated by calls he didn't have a great deal of time," according to the Pioneer Press.

Brat had been considered the clear underdog in the race against the powerful Cantor, but he focused on Cantor's support for immigration reform and it swayed the conservative voters in the district. Brat will go up against a Democrat, Jack Trammel, who is also a faculty member at Randolph-Macon College in the November election.

Cantor announced Wednesday afternoon that he will step down as House Majority Leader, according to ABC News, and has no plans to run as a write-in candidate for his congressional seat in November.

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