Hoekstra on Brat's victory: Hope breeds "giant-killers"

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A Hope College graduate is at the center of a major primary election upset in Virginia, and now the ripples are being felt from coast to coast.

Tuesday night, Tea Party Republican David Brat delivered a big blow to the establishment Republicans by beating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a significant margin.

It's considered one of the biggest primary upsets in two decades, since Holland's Pete Hoekstra won a seat in Congress.

Virginia voters clearly know David Brat, but very few others across the country do. Scott Wierda would be one of the exceptions. He was one of several roommates sharing a house with Brat during their Hope College years and they've stayed in touch ever since.

"This morning we talked briefly, very briefly, because he had a substantial amount of interviews being set up nationally all over the place, he said it's been a bit of a whirlwind," says Wierda.

Both of them graduated in 1986 from Hope, where Wierda says Brat was class president. He majored in business administration, then went onto get a Masters from Princeton, and a Ph.D. from American University.

"Very level headed, very smart, quite engaging," Wierda says of Brat.

Still, even Brat's friends were surprised about his political win over the number-two leader in the House, Eric Cantor.

"Didn't expect him to upset the House Majority Leader, but he did it. All of our friends were really excited about it," says Wierda.

Some are calling it the biggest Republican primary upset since another Hope College grad won in the 1990's: former Congressman Pete Hoekstra.

"All of a sudden at 11 p.m. the phone starts ringing, 'Where are you? We want to come and interview you.' Forty-eight hours later, you're on national TV -- so he's going to be overwhelmed with the attention he's going to be getting," says Hoekstra. "It's very ironic that both times it was done by a graduate of Hope College. Hope College: the breeding ground of giant-killers."

RELATED: Hope grad beats No. 2 Republican in U.S. House

Hoekstra says it shows that no candidate is too big to lose. Cantor was widely considered to be next in line for Speaker of the House. Now, he's planning to step down from his House Majority Leader role at the end of July. Meanwhile, Brat's former college roommates hope to have a reunion -- once things calm down.


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