Former GOP Rep. Scott Taylor announced Monday that he was ending his longshot bid against Virginia Sen. Mark Warner to instead seek a rematch with freshman Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, and he immediately launched a misogynist attack against the incumbent.
Taylor, who like Luria is a Navy veteran, said he decided to run after the congresswoman voted to impeach Donald Trump. Taylor then said of Luria and several other freshmen Democrats, “These girls that have national security backgrounds, they came out before there was any bit of evidence whatsoever, and they did so to create political cover for moderates to allow [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to move forward.” Luria quickly fired back. “Yes, I am a girl. I may wear heels now, but I wore steel-toed boots for 20 years in the Navy,” she retorted. “It’s 2020—girls can do anything.”
Before Taylor can focus on taking on Luria, though, he needs to win the June GOP primary against Navy veteran and 2010 candidate Ben Loyola. Loyola earned an endorsement last month from former Rep. Scott Rigell, who defeated him 40-27 a decade ago and retired in 2016.
The 2nd District, which includes Virginia Beach and nearby areas, backed Trump 49-45, but Luria unseated Taylor 51-49 in an expensive race in the 2018 midterms. During that campaign, Taylor’s staff was exposed for forging signatures on behalf of Democrat-turned-independent Shaun Brown (who was booted off the ballot by a judge), and Democrats ran ads slamming Taylor's campaign for its skullduggery.
While Taylor’s staff acknowledged the congressman knew of his team’s plans to aide Brown, Taylor has always denied any knowledge of his aides’ wrongdoing. Last cycle, Taylor dismissed the entire matter as a “nothing burger” and defended his staffers’ involvement in helping Brown with the least sincere of declarations: “That’s democracy.”
However, Taylor belatedly struck a more contrite note in his announcement. “I was devastated to learn about wrongdoing on the team,” he said. “But in the end, I’m responsible for it, and I think some voters held me accountable for it.” In May, the special prosecutor who indicted a Taylor staffer for falsifying signatures said that the scandal “is still a subject of investigation,” and the Washington Post reported Monday that that remains the case.
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