Two years ago, people who read my columns in The Washington Times heard something they were not hearing about anyplace else. The sitting House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, was in trouble and would be beaten in his primary.
Few believed me when I told them Dave Brat, a then-unknown economics professor, would defeat the heir apparent to then-House Speaker John Boehner.
This year, people have been asking, “Who is the Dave Brat of 2016?”
His name is Joe Carr, and he is a Republican challenging Republican incumbent Diane Black in Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District. In 2014, Carr challenged Sen. Lamar Alexander for the Senate. While the Washington so-called conservative PACs were wasting money on candidates that had no chance, Carr was funding his operation on a shoestring. Lamar Alexander had millions of dollars. Yet three weeks away from the election, Carr had tied Alexander.
Alexander pushed millions into advertising. He got help from the special interest groups and Carr ended up losing 49 percent to 40 percent. Alexander is a political legend in Tennessee and until that race, had never been held under 50 percent of the vote.
This year, Carr, again without outside help, is running an amazing campaign. Polls have him at worst tied with Black. Anyone who has ever run a campaign knows, if you are an incumbent and you are tied with a challenger two weeks out from an election, you are going to lose. The undecided vote never breaks for an incumbent at the end.
Black has been the center of controversy about ads she has been running. In that ad, Black claims that in 1996, three men assaulted her and attempted to kidnap her. She says she suffered a fractured cheekbone and ruptured disk as a result of the attack, and she claims the Nashville Police told her that if she had been forced in that car, she would have “never come back.”
The problem with Black’s story is that there is no police report of this incident from 1996. Aggravated Kidnapping is a Class B felony in Tennessee. It is so serious that if someone is convicted of that offense, they are denied probation and must serve the sentence. This crime allegedly occurred in 1996, but it is impossible for there to be no police report of a serious felony.
There is a police report from 1994, where Black was the victim of a purse snatching. One man, not three, attacked her. According to the report, he punched her and took her purse but she needed no medical attention.
In her ad, Black says after that attack, she went out and bought a gun and got her concealed carry permit. The only problem is that according to the Tennessee concealed weapon permit database, she did not get her permit until 2010, not 1996.
Black is widely mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2018. Tennessee’s current liberal governor, Bill Haslam, will be term limited out and there are many who expect her to announce she is running immediately after she wins re-election to Congress.
However, she is probably not going to be re-elected to Congress. With Carr running an amazing campaign, arguably an almost perfect campaign, Joe Carr is going to be the Dave Brat of 2016.