Meet Jack Trammell, the Democrat who will face David Brat, the man who beat Eric Cantor

On Monday, Jack Trammell was a little-known employee of Randolph-Macon College newly minted as the sacrificial-lamb Democratic candidate certain to be trounced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the heavily Republican 7th District.

A day later, Trammell’s political prospects had transformed with Cantor’s loss to David A. Brat. He remained, however, little known.

With Cantor’s loss, Trammell suddenly finds himself on a much more level playing field — facing, in Brat, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor and a candidate with a much leaner bankroll than Cantor’s.

In a statement Tuesday night, Trammell said Cantor’s loss proved that “Virginians are hungry for a radical change from the dysfunctional and reckless politics being practiced by those in Congress.”

“In the coming months, I look forward to a spirited campaign where can talk about the issues that matter to our community, and how we can get Congress re-focused on the priorities that truly matter to us,” he said.

John Kent Trammell, 50, assumed the mantle of Democratic nominee Monday only after being nominated by a party committee. No candidates had entered the party’s primary.

On his initial campaign Web site, Trammell sketched out a brief campaign platform focusing on the reform of student loans and special education and greater access to higher education.

A statement from Trammell posted Tuesday night repeatedly invoked President John F. Kennedy: “My experience suggests to me that America continues to be a place where others look to for inspired leadership and innovation, a place where opportunity is not defined by how much wealth one accumulates, or what your family tree looks like, but where the quality of one’s ideas and the breadth of one’s character still matter.”

But by Wednesday morning, the site had been taken down, replaced by a more slickly designed page featuring only a brief biography, a sign-up form for his e-mail list and a link to donate to his campaign.

According to articles posted on the Randolph-Macon web site, Trammell joined the college’s faculty in 2000 after doing graduate work at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He has directed the school’s disability support services department and its honors program and serves as an associate professor of sociology, specializing in disability issues in higher education.

Trammell is also a frequently published author, having most recently published “The Richmond Slave Trade: The Economic Backbone of The Old Dominion” in 2012. He has also served as president of the Blue Ridge Virginia Writer’s Club.

A Kentucky native, according to his campaign biography, Trammell lives on a small farm in Louisa County with his wife and seven children.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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