Biggest Upset Since 1899

Campaign Manager Zachary Werrell orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in political history at the age of 23.  

Despite being outspent nearly 40 to 1, Zach’s candidate Dave Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor with 56% of the vote in the Republican primary.  This was the first time a sitting House Majority Leader has been defeated since the position was created in 1899.

His success is thanks to an overwhelming grassroots campaign and effective political activists. 

“It wasn’t some establishment machine kind of political campaign, but it was the people doing it,” he said.

Watch this video to see the full story.

Watch this video to see the full story. 

Zach credits most of the techniques he used to pull off this upset to his Leadership Institute training.

“There is nothing like baptism through fire to fully appreciate the Leadership Institute training.  I went through LI’s Campaign Management School, and I took copious amounts of notes.  The amount of knowledge and resources that were gifted to me by that school gave me the tools and the tool box to harness volunteers and activists to get the message across,” Zach said.

Zachary, pictured below in the Leadership Institute’s Campaign Management School, put his training to good use.

Zach Werrell takes notes at LI's Campaign Management School.He was not the only campaign staffer trained by the Leadership Institute.

“We had an army of hundreds of volunteers, all of whom were trained by or under command of someone who has taken, in some form or fashion, the Leadership Institute training,” he said. 

The defeat of Representative Cantor was not Zach’s first success story.  In November 2013, he successfully ran a campaign to unseat incumbent Delegate Larry Yates of Virginia’s 29th district.

Zach has a bright future ahead of him, and there is no sign of stopping this political activist.  In addition to LI’s Campaign Management School, Zach is also a graduate of the Political Voter Mail Workshop and Communications Workshop.

“At the end of the day what I learned is that money talks, people vote, and effective activists persuade,” said Zach.

Join LI in applauding Zachery Werrell for receiving LI’s Conservative Leader-in-Training Award.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award (winners will have an article written about them), please contact LI's Digital Media Manager Carol Wehe, at

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