There has been plenty of speculation about just why professor Dave Brat defeated Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this week. Was it down to immigration issues, disgust with Washington, an incumbent distracted by leadership responsibilities who just wasn’t much of a “retail politician,” or what?
I’m persuaded by my friend Joe Asch who says our fellow Dartmouth alum Laura Ingraham played a decisive role.
Joe cites the following evidence from Politico:
Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said he believes that Ingraham’s support was the deciding factor in Brat’s upset win.
“Something had to propel Brat forward other than dislike of Eric Cantor,” Sabato said. “She electrified the crowd when he had almost no money. He won the seat with peanuts, compared to Cantor’s millions. It was a clever substitution of free media for paid media.”
“She wasn’t just a talk radio host who simply used her program to promote Brat. She took it to another level,” said Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director and senior White House correspondent. “I think she does deserve credit in giving credibility to Brat.”
Ingraham, then, is perhaps the best authority on which factor[s], in addition to her participation, propelled Brat to victory.