In defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, David Brat didn't garner the support of big national Tea Party groups or heavily-funded outside groups. Instead, his energetic grassroots campaign was buoyed by a few prominent conservative voices, most notably, Laura Ingraham.
As The New York Times notes, Ingraham even spoke at a rally for Brat:
Ms. Ingraham was so taken aback at the size of the crowd — inside the clubhouse, hundreds of people crammed onto staircase landings, leaned over railings, and peered down at her from above — she wondered aloud what was really going on.
"We all looked at each other, saying, 'He could totally win,'" Ms. Ingraham said in an interview. "I've had two moments in American politics in the last 15 years where I knew there was a big change afoot. One was when I left the Iowa caucuses in 2008. I walked out of there and said to a friend, 'Barack Obama is going to win.' And the other was when I left that rally last Tuesday." [The New York Times]
There were other prominent conservative boosters. Some (like radio host Mark Levin and Breitbart.com) were mentioned in the article, others, like Daily Caller blogger Mickey Kaus, were omitted. But Ingraham is arguably the biggest name, and she seems to relish this role as kingmaker:
But is she a kingmaker? Not that long ago, Ingraham was among those voicing some concern that Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse might be soft on immigration. By that time, however, nearly the entire conservative and tea party movement was on Sasse's side, and he easily won his primary. This time, however, Ingraham and her pals saw the potential to shock the American political world — and they had the game all to themselves.