RICHMOND – Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) Compared the struggles of jailed drug addicts to the heat he takes in his tight race with Democrat Abigail Spanberger.
"You think you've got a hard time -I've got $ 5 million worth of negative ads going on," Brat told Inmates at the Chesterfield County Jail Wednesday. "How do you think I'm feeling? Nothing's easy. For any body. You think I'm a congressman. 'Oh, life's easy. These guys are having steaks. Bull … I got a daughter, she's got to deal with that crap on TV every day. It's tough. '"
Moments later, quickly acknowledging the inmates," you got it harder ̵
But his chat drew sharp criticism from Spanberger.
"These comments are disturbing and damaging in the way that they belittle and trivialize addiction and those facing recovery," Spanberger said. "However, time and time again, Congressman Brat has demonstrated he is a politician who is more concerned with his own re-election than the struggles and well-being of people in our communities, and sadly, his comments are not surprising."
"Brat campaign spokeswoman."
"The truth is that Congressman Brat has taken massive action contributions from pharmaceutical companies, voted to give them a billion-dollar tax break, and voted to limit access to addiction services," Spanberger said
Brat, who on Thursday received President Trump's endorsement, is in a tough race against Spanberger in Virginia's 7th Congressional District, a longtime GOP that appears to be in play in the trump era.
He met with about 100 inmates at the jail Wednesday to hear t heir challenges of recovery and life after incarceration. Brat's efforts to portray himself as a practical and compassionate problem-solver.
"As a Christian, we love the least of thesis – we are visiting those in prison, "Brat said in a news release.
Brat seemed to be relishing to the inmates by sharing some of his own struggles.
Brat, a former Randolph-Macon college economics professor, has advised her to get an entry-level job at a college where she might qualify for free tuition as an employee. Randolph-Macon for free when he was a professor, so he was in a financial pinch when he quit to go to Congress.
"I did not have any savings," he says. he said. "All went away – oops! So, plans change. "
Another woman complained that they are living in drug-hidden neighborhoods, exposing them to temptation.
" They will not allow us to be in nicer areas, "she said.
Brat's reply suggested that upscale neighborhoods are not all they're cracked up to be.
" You may not believe the depression in those hoity-toity neighborhoods, "he said.
While his comments on the jail, the inmates seem to appreciate his visit.
Inmate Demond Williams, 34, called him "good man, saying he appreciates"
Trump endorsed Brat
"Congressman @ DaveBratVA7th is one of the hardest working, and smartest, people in Washington," Trump tweeted . "He is strong on the Border, Crime, the Military, our Vets and the 2nd Amendment. He is a powerful vote for MAGA and loves the Great State of Virginia. Dave has my total endorsement! "
Trump's phrasing may sound familiar;
Brat won the seat four years ago after Eric Cantor, then the House majority leader.
This year, Brat faces a strong challenger in Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement agent and CIA operative whose résumé may appeal to swing voters and moderate Republicans.  Brat released a statement thanking Trump. Virginians are seeing more jobs, higher take-home pay, and more opportunities for our kids graduating from school. The Republican-passed tax cuts combined with regulatory relief from the administration equals a strong economy for Virginia. With all this economic growth, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. "
During his first – and likely only – debate with Spanberger on Monday, Brat Nancy Pelosi mentioned about 25 times , or once every 3.6 minutes. Spanberger has said she would not support Pelosi for Speaker if Democrats win control of the House.
The sprawling district is a mix of Richmond suburbs and rural areas stretching from Culpeper to Nottoway County. Democrats helped deliver the governor's mansion to Ralph Northam (D) last year and nearly won the GOP's 2-to-1 advantage in the House of Delegates , Independent political analysts rate the race a toss-up.
Spanberger, who does not accept corporate PAC donations, is ahead in fundraising. She raised nearly $ 3.6 million over the past three months – a record quarter in the Virginia 7th and more than the $ 2.8 million Brat raised for his last two shows combined. Brat raises $ 1 million for the quarter.