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Dave Brat’s Advisor Phil Rapp Retires (Again!)


Phil Rapp

I hate to call Dave Brat’s Advisor Phil Rapp the Bret Favre of Politics, but the shoe almost fits. Bret may have one up on Phil.

But suffice it to say that Phil Rapp plans to make this his last retirement and he plans to enjoy the life of leisure he earned after a lifetime of work.

I caught up with Phil by phone the other day to see what he plans to do now that he is really, really going to retire.

Phil recalled a wet, drizzly day back in April 2009 standing with a crowd of people at the first Tax Day rally in Downtown Richmond. I was there as well, though Phil and I would not meet there. But it was inevitable that he and I would cross paths many times in the years to come.

Phil said he had recently retired, and like many of us was not feeling good about the direction Obama was leading the nation. So he went down to that first Richmond Tax Day rally to see what he could do, being newly retired and all. And like many others, the Richmond TEA Party took up a lot of his time. Not in a bad way, and Phil was only too happy to pitch in wherever he was needed. And I don’t recall the exact event or place where I first met Phil, but someone with the TEA Party said we had to meet.

If you know Phil, you will know what I mean, but he is just one of those guys that you just know you are going to get along with the instant you meet him. He has a calm, collected exterior, a ready smile and a reassuring voice that instantly puts you at ease. Like he knows it will all be OK.

And like many of us, Phil was not immersed in politics. He was not one of those life-long politicos that always seem to be on the inside. No, Phil was just an ordinary guy living life. But he was a quick learner and one who was always willing to jump in and do what was necessary to get the job done. And the many friends he made along the way, after retirement, will attest to the work ethic of this man.

But we now know, Obama is not a quick fix. He has done and continues to do a lot of damage to America in his effort to transform us to the lowest common denominator on the world stage. So this effort moved from TEA Party to finding good people to put into office and working as hard as you can to get them elected.

And Phil wasn’t one to pick the easy tasks, so when people said “Hey, let’s get this College Professor named Dave Brat elected. It’ll be fun. Primary Eric Cantor then win in November,” Phil Rapp was all in.

But he made it clear that he was only going to be in this until the Primary was over. Win, lose or draw. See, Phil has a place on a lake in the mountains of Southwest Virginia and he could hear the peace and tranquility shouting out to him.

“Just through the primary,” he said.

And we all know what happened. Phil Rapp was one of the folks that helped Dave Brat pull off a nation shattering event – he helped send Eric Cantor into retirement.

And I can see Phil now. He probably walked in to Dave’s office the next day in a fishing vest and hat covered with lures to shake Dave Brat’s hand and wish him well in November. And we all know what happened. Dave Brat talked Phil out of retirement again and Phil probably left Dave’s office putting on a tie.

The lake would have to wait. But the deadline was in sight (again). Just another 6 or 7 months and Phil could finally whip the grass into shape, maybe get some flowers ready for the next Spring, clean up the lures and sharpen the hooks. A nice, relaxing Fall and Winter just tossing another log on the fire and kicking back.

So Phil stayed. Again.

And Eric Cantor did something unexpected. He resigned early and left his seat open. So Dave Brat was placed on the ballot to fill the remainder of Cantor’s term as well as his race for his own term. So when the dust settled in November, Dave won both elections and was to leave the day after the election to be sworn in as a Congressman.

And I wish I was a fly on the wall. I can hear it now. Phil walks in in the same fishing vest, the same lure covered hat to tell Dave goodby. Retirement at long last.

And I can only imagine the conversation.

“Phil, I know you want to retire, but I need you in Washington,” or some such words from the soon to be Congressman.

And I probably can’t print what Phil was thinking here. I would run out of letters on my keyboard.

But Phil told me that this was really an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. Who could? Phil had the time, being more or less retired, and who could turn down an opportunity to go to Washington with an amazing man like Dave Brat long enough to get him settled in. And what an experience this has been for Phil.

But from the very beginning of the Safari to DC, Phil was going to stay just long enough for Dave to get his feet wet in DC and then ride off into the sunset, literally.

Ok, the time Dave Brat has spent in DC so far has not only wet his feet, but more often than not had his head under water. But Dave Brat has this. There was never any doubt he would slide into Congress and make a big impact right away for those of us who knew Dave. But Phil no doubt helped the transition. That friendly smile, the calm demeanor and good humor from Phil made things a bit easier for our new Congressman.

I asked Phil if they were going to throw him a going away party. Phil laughed and said he didn’t want them to do that. So they planned to enjoy a cigar, probably on Dave Brat’s deck, and quietly move on to the next phase.

I wonder if Phil wore his fishing vest to the cigar party. Probably not. That thing is bad luck when it came to Phil and retirement getting together.

But today is Phil Rapp’s last day working with Dave Brat. And I feel pretty certain this time it will stick.

Although there is an election next year Phil ……

But in all seriousness, I hope Phil has a long and enjoyable retirement. And I appreciate everything he has done, not just with Dave Brat, but in his efforts to make America a better place. He is one of the good guys and I am truly blessed to know him and hope to see him around in the future having fun and doing less work.

And a shout out to Brian Gottstein who, along with Phil have been part of the support team for Dave Brat.

And Dave Brat continues to do everything he said he would do. And more.


About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

8 Responses to “Dave Brat’s Advisor Phil Rapp Retires (Again!)”

  1. oscar walker

    I want to be one of the first to post a big Thank You!
    Phil has been tirelessly and loyally in his support for Dave Brat and the 7th district people. Wishing you the very best in your retirement and looking forward to seeing you at the next “Rodeo”.

  2. Mark says:

    Just want to thank Phil for all that he has done to get involved and to stay involved , when he could have just retired. “The group” knows that with out Phil and his commitment for the greater good, this might not have happened. Thanks for representing us very well Phil.

  3. PacMan says:

    Is he still going to serve on the Board of Directors of the Middle Resolution Pac? Or is he really retiring?


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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