Tea party activist David Brat said Wednesday his stunning victory in Virginia's Republican primary, which made Eric Cantor the first House Majority Leader to lose a re-election in U.S. history, was nothing short of a miracle.
"It was basically a miracle, you know, from God straight through the people who worked so hard for me," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, was easily beaten Tuesday by Brat, a college economics professor, who accused Cantor of betraying conservative principles on spending, debt and immigration.
In an interview with CNBC, Brat said he has compassion for immigrants coming to the U.S. in search of a better life. But instead of allowing more people to enter, he suggested doing more to improve life in the world's third world countries.
"You have to get rid of dictatorships and encourage strong rule of law and property rights in those home countries, so they get rich like us," he said. "The reason people come here is because we're the richest nation on Earth."
(Former Congressman Barney Frank will be on CNBC's "Closing Bell" at 4:20 pm ET to comment on Eric Cantor's loss)
He also touted free markets, but complained the current tax code gives too much power to Wall Street and other wealthy individuals with the means to lobby for tax credits and deductions in their favor. He'd like to overhaul the tax code completely.
"Everyone's for free markets except when it affects your own business," he said. "We need to clean it up so that it's fair, lower rates, for the business, as well as individuals and get this country growing again."
Brat's big win came despite a lack of political experience and minimal campaign funding. Brat raised just $231,000, whereas Cantor raised $5.7 million.
Brat gained a Ph.D. in economics at the American University in Washington and master of divinity from Princeton before going on to work as an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, a liberal arts college north of Richmond.
—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm. Reuters contributed to this report.