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Hot streak: Dave Brat's students rate his teaching above average, think he's attractive

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Virginia,2014 Elections,Eric Cantor,Blake Seitz,Dave Brat

Dave Brat's students think he's hot. After a long-shot primary victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., they may be right.

When Brat is not making history by knocking off well-heeled incumbents, he teaches economics at Randolph-Macon College, a small school near Richmond, Va. Brat has been on staff since 1996 and has led the economics and business department since 2005.

Brat's students have left 24 reviews of his teaching performance on RateMyProfessors.com. Excluding two fishy reviews posted on election day, he has received above-average marks. Overall, students give him a 3.4 out of 5.

Brat was praised for being helpful and gregarious. "Very animated teacher," one user wrote in 2010. "Will definitely hold your interest." Another user wrote that "Dr. Brat is unparalleled in his knowledge, guidance with learning, caring about his students and his ethics. He relates all content to real world scenarios and encourages healthy participation in class."

However, some users faulted Brat for his absentmindedness. "Off subject often," one user wrote tersely. "Not a great teacher," another user wrote. "Great guy, but almost too smart to teach."

His marks are all over the board, but Brat can boast of one accomplishment: his students have awarded him RateMyProfessor's coveted "red chili pepper," denoting physical attractiveness. "He's total eye candy!! [sic]" declared one user in December 2010. "Atleast he's hot!! [sic]" another user exclaimed in September 2005.

Looks may not be consequential in a tweedy profession like academia, but it could help him on the campaign trail. According to the Washington Post, executive director of the Richmond Tea Party Larry Nordvig was initially drawn to Brat because he is articulate and "presidential-looking."

"Between his appearance and his bearing and his answers to tough questions, I knew we had the right man for the job,” Nordvig said.

Brat won't be able to bank on the pepper in the general, however. In November he will face a Randolph-Macon colleague, sociology professor Jack Trammell, the Democrats' choice to compete for the seat.

Trammell's reviewers, who are fewer but more generous, also awarded him the red chili pepper.

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Author:

Blake Seitz

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner