The Bulletin

Citing negative campaign ads about him, Brat tells jailed addicts he’s got it hard too

By: - October 18, 2018 11:44 am

U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th, official congressional photo.

When Republican Congressman Dave Brat visited the Chesterfield County Jail to talk with convicted drug offenders, he had some nontraditional advice, according to WCVE’s Ben Paviour, who covered the visit.

Brat, who is running for re-election, told inmates they had to find substitutes for their drug use once they got out of jail. He suggested exercise, reading or religious practice, WCVE reported.

But then he had an interesting take when inmates mentioned the difficulty they face once they’re out of jail, likening his tough contest against Democrat Abigail Spanberger to the inmates’ concerns.

“You think you’re having a hard time?,” Brat said. “I got $5 million worth of negative ads coming at me. How do you think I’m feeling? Nothing’s easy. For anybody.”

“And you’ve got it harder,” he later said. “I’m not dismissing that. You’ve got some fierce, real anxiety with coming up with a job or whatever. And what you’ve got to find is a support system.”

Dave Wasserman, an editor at the Cook Political Report, said on Twitter missteps like this make Brat a headache for his party.

“Every cycle, there are a few incumbents their own party’s strategists wish they could throw overboard,” Wasserman tweeted. “Brat is one of them.”

It appears it hasn’t hurt the incumbent too bad: He earned President Donald Trump’s “full endorsement” the morning after the visit.



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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.