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Opinion

Who is running against Dave Brat?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Virginia,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Ashe Schow,Eric Cantor,Dave Brat

Dave Brat may have won a historic primary election Tuesday night, but his victory in November isn't guaranteed. I mean, it's pretty guaranteed -- he's running in an R +10 district -- but it might still be helpful to know who he's up against.

And that would be the last-minute Democratic nominee Jack Trammell, Libertarian James Carr and the, let’s say, eccentric, Mike Dickinson, who’s apparently running as a write-in candidate.

Jack Trammell, Democrat

Virginia Democrats realized they should probably put up a candidate to run against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., even though no one had filed a nomination by the deadline in May. The Democrats chose Jack Trammell as their nominee.

On Monday, a Facebook page for Trammell's candidacy was launched. As of this writing, there are only two posts: one from Monday announcing the campaign kickoff and one from Tuesday -- announcing the campaign kickoff with a link to the newly created campaign website.

On Tuesday, Trammell announced his candidacy on Twitter. The announcement was his first tweet from his brand new campaign account.


At the time of this writing, Trammell has only sent one other tweet — a thank-you to those who are supporting him.

Trammell’s campaign website is, as of this writing, barely existent. You can give your name and e-mail to “get involved” with the campaign and donate to the campaign, but that’s it. There’s no information about his stance on any issues or even an address listed.

Trammell's website says he fought discrimination at Grove City College, when he “experienced a de facto ban in the school newspaper due to his more moderate views.” He also campaigned for Bill Clinton in Kentucky during the 1992 and 1996 elections.

Trammell is also a novelist, having published multiple books, and he is currently working on a novel about vampires.

Trammell is starting from ground zero, with almost no money. The Federal Election Commission hasn't received any records from Trammell's campaign, so either he is below the $5,000 reporting limit or the FEC hasn't received his paperwork.

Trammell is also an associate professor of sociology at Randolph-Macon College -- the same college where Brat works. Trammell also directs the college's honors program and disability support services.

Oh, and he has seven kids.

James Carr, Libertarian

“Why should you have to accept socially intolerant ideas in order to vote for someone that meets your own fiscally conservative stance?” James Carr’s campaign website says.

“On the other side, do you have to accept a tax-and-spend approach to financial management in order to support social freedoms?”

Carr's website at least has all the information a normal campaign website should have, complete with lengthy pages about his position on issues like abortion, gun rights and the minimum wage.

There’s even a nifty photo of a man walking up to the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond carrying the Democratic and Republican symbols: a donkey and an elephant.

Carr’s bio says he grew up in a family with a “meager” income, with a mother who didn’t finish high school and worked as a housekeeper. His father was a carpet cleaner.

At 13, Carr began helping his father start a business — which didn’t work out. Carr worked his way through college and, after working as a road manager for a rock band, began working for a defense contractor (you read that right).

Carr now works in the finance sector of the health care industry, which he says has given him a “rather unique view” on government’s involvement in the industry.

He has three kids, including twin girls.

Mike Dickinson, Independent

You scrolled down just to read about this guy, didn’t you?

What can one say about a candidate who described himself on Twitter as “a flaming liberal who attacks people who have no concrete platforms yet”?

This is the same man who sent a vulgar tweet regarding Michelle Malkin, Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Sarah Palin in May.

Dickinson's Twitter account reads like, well, you can just read it for yourself.

“I love [Obamacare],” Dickinson tweeted on Wednesday. “I love @BarackObama.”

That's a nice sentiment, except remember Dickinson is running in an R +10 district -- in a state that doesn't like Obamacare.

Dickinson's campaign website is about as bare as Trammell's. There's a short bio about Dickinson with general statements about Congress needing to find solutions rather than bickering, blah blah.

Dickinson notes that he graduated college with the help of student loans and “established a successful career” as a restaurant management consultant.

He appears to be for education and a higher minimum wage.

Dickinson did file a campaign finance report with the FEC in April that said he raised $1,421.30 in the first quarter and spent $2,519.54 in operating expenditures. The report said Dickinson had $1,027.96 cash on hand at the end of the quarter, with $2,126.20 in debts and obligations.

If you were hoping for a lively campaign season full of gaffes from Dickinson, you’re probably out of luck. He failed to file to run as a Democrat — but not to worry, he’ll be running as an Independent, probably as a write-in candidate.

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