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Dave Brat gives press conference that's not for the media

Republican Dave Brat's win last Tuesday was a surprise to everyone, it seems.
Image: Dave Brat
Republican 7th District congressional candidate Dave Brat gestures as he speaks in front of his headquarters in Richmond, Va., on June 19, 2014.

“No media! No media!”

That’s how Dave Brat’s campaign ended his a faux press conference on Thursday, where the man who took down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gave his first remarks since winning and then quickly rushed back into his campaign office. The press weren’t allowed to ask questions and were actually shooed away at the end.

Brat's win last Tuesday was a surprise to everyone, including the candidate himself, it seems. Brat acknowledged that his team was not quite up to speed because no one – not even them – expected they had a shot at winning. He credited their silence since the primary win to trying to catch up and staff up.

“We appreciate your patience as we transform from a campaign many people ignored to one that has captured the attention of the nation,” Brat said in a prepared statement.

Brat made it clear that his campaign, like it did in the primary, will focus on his favorite issue—free markets—and will maintain a decidedly contrarian, anti-Washington attitude.

Throughout the speech, Brat became the most animated when he mentioned term limits (though he declined to answer a reporter who shouted at him after his remarks, asking how many terms he would serve himself) and emphatically said that a sluggish economy, health care costs, and a growing national debt are problems “caused by Washington, not by you and me.” 

Brat also announced that he’d hired a campaign manager, Amanda Chase, to replace his fresh-faced 23-year-old primary campaign manager, Zachary Werrell. Chase formerly worked for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, but had spoken favorably of Brat during their race. 

In January, Chase told the National Review Online “this probably the first time that Eric has had a credible opponent with a comparable education and background.”

“When others distorted my record in the primary, she showed her professionalism and objectivity and publicly corrected the media about my record about my conservative credentials,” Brat said. 

He added: "I plan to cross this entire district and knock on thousands of additional doors and spread this message. That’s how we won the primary and that’s how we’re going to win the election in November."

Brat has the backing of national Republicans, including Cantor, and is heavily favored to defeat Democrat Jack Trammell in the conservative 7th district of Virginia this fall.