Five months before Dave Brat shocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Tuesday, conservative political consultant John Pudner’s statistical model had predicted that Brat could get 25,351 votes outside of Henrico County.
Brat got 25,296 votes outside of Henrico County on Tuesday, coming just 55 votes short of Pudner’s target.
And that increase in turnout propelled Brat to a victory that hardly anyone thought was possible.
Pudner, the founder of Concentric Direct, and his team assessed their targets after the race, which can be seen in the table below that they provided to Breitbart News:
On Fox News’ Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Pudner, said he met Brat in December, and he “seemed like a credible candidate.” That was when he started to focus on a targeted “ground game” for the campaign, which he provided them in January. Pudner, who is known in conservative circles as maximizing and stretching dollars for low-budget and upstart conservative campaigns, said that volunteers are the most important asset if a campaign does not have enough money and “grassroots are the people who win elections and you need to know how to count.” Targeting a campaign’s voters, especially for a low-budget campaign, is so important so that volunteers do not waste hours contacting voters that will not even consider their candidate.
Brat received 36,120 votes in the race to Cantor’s 28,902, beating him 55.55% to 44.45%. In 2012, 47,719 voters turned out for the seventh district primary while 65,008 turned out last week, and some of them were voters that Pudner’s team identified as potential Brat voters long before anyone even paid attention to the race. Pudner said there were some issues that helped to galvanize these voters, and, as Breitbart News relentlessly reported, Cantor’s support for amnesty was the most prominent. Brat hammered Cantor for his embrace of amnesty, and it helped his anti-cronyism message to cut through to the district’s voters.
Pudner, the creator of the heralded ValueAddBasketball.com basketball ratings, which is basketball’s version of “Moneyball,” who has also been a Breitbart Sports contributor, has advised general managers before the NBA Draft. In a similar fashion, Pudner said he had to show Brat data “county by county where he could get the votes and how he could win.”
“You have to have a roadmap,” he said.
The victory was sweet for Pudner and vindication for his heralded statistical analysis.
“We have often taken on causes on behalf of conservatives set to be vastly out-spent, and we have a track record of overcoming incredible odds,” he noted. “Tonight, we are so excited to have played a role for such a stellar candidate who truly represents the grassroots of his district, and I was thrilled to be a part of the cause very early when all of my friends were telling me I was crazy.”