Taylor enters Senate race amid criminal investigation of his 2018 House race
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
Click here to watch full Taylor announcement video
VIRGINIA BEACH (CFP) — Just six months after being ejected from Congress by voters, former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor has announced he will try to make a comeback by running against Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner in 2020.
“There is a leadership crisis in Virginia,” Taylor said in a YouTube video posted July 8 announcing his candidacy. “Washington is broken, and we need a fresh start in the Senate.”
Taylor’s announcement, which didn’t mention Warner by name, was heavy on biography, particularly his service as a Navy SEAL and his single term in House. He said he was running “for the disadvantaged, for those stuck and those left behind.”
The video also didn’t mention his unsuccessful 2018 re-election campaign, which was rocked by charges that Taylor operatives were behind a sham independent candidate designed to draw votes away from his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria.
Taylor has insisted he knew nothing about efforts to forge petition signatures to get independent Shaun Brown on the ballot. A special prosecutor is still investigating the case, and a Taylor campaign operative has been indicted for election fraud.
Luria defeated Taylor in southeastern Virginia’s 2nd District by just 6,100 votes, one of three House seats in the Old Dominion that flipped to the Democrats.
Taylor told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that he considered a rematch against Luria but decided the Senate seat would be “the best position where I can get things done.”
Warner’s campaign welcomed Taylor to the race by noting that he was an “experienced campaigner” who had “run or explored running for five different offices in the past decade.”
Taylor, 40, spent eight years as a SEAL, including service as a sniper in Iraq. He lost races for Virginia Beach mayor and the U.S. House before finally winning a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2013. He was elected to Congress in 2016.
Warner, 64, is seeking his third term in the Senate after a term as governor. He is currently the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating links between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Taylor hit Warner for being “a false prophet of Russia propaganda and the illusion of collusion.” However, he could have his own issues with the president’s fervent base voters after publicly blaming Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” for the GOP’s loss of the House in 2018.
Given Virginia’s recent Democratic tilt, Warner starts the race as the favorite. However, he had a surprisingly close call in 2014 when he defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by less than 20,000 votes, in a race that had not been on anyone’s radar screen.