Brat — if he survives the November final election in the Republican-leaning Virginia seventh congressional district — will replace one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress. The immigration issue was the issue upon which the mainstream media focused upon as the decider in the GOP primary. Brat — who opposes amnesty for illegal aliens while the border remains unsecured — said that it was a part of the difference. “Immigration is a part of that aspect, but I ran on the fiscal issues and the Republican creed which starts off with the main thing I'm interested in and that is a commitment to free markets,” Brat told MSNBC's Chuck Todd on the day after the June 10 primary. “Amnesty, at the end, was a clear differentiator between myself and Eric Cantor.”
Immigration was far from the only issue in Brat's campaign against Cantor's record. Brat primarily hit Cantor on three main fronts: Cantor's support for immigration amnesty, federal debt level increases, and crony capitalism through the Export-Import Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Cantor earned a 56-percent cumulative rating with The New American's “Freedom Index,” among the most liberal Republicans in the Congress. Cantor's record reflects the very worst of crony capitalists, voting for the airline bailout in 2001, the TARP bailout in 2007, and ongoing corporate welfare through the Import-Export Bank. So the crony capitalism/corporate welfare issue provided a stark contrast that was a highlight of Brat's campaign. Asked by MSNBC's Chuck Todd if he was “anti-Wall Street,” Brat responded: “I'm not anti-Wall Street, I'm anti-distortions to free markets. Anything that distorts the free market, I'm against.”
Crony capitalism was a focal point by the small amount of independent support Brat received in the primary election, including a radio and television advertisement from the Virginia Vision Action PAC which complained:
You've learned how Eric Cantor is teaming up with big labor to raise money and defeat Tea Party conservatives. Now, another fact: Cantor is trying to line himself up to be speaker. But conservatives in Congress are pushing back, fighting Cantor's plan for taxpayers to fund billions in corporate welfare through the Import-Export Bank. Cantor has by-passed conservative committee chairs and is working with Democrats to pass this taxpayer rip-off.
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