One of the GOP’s most endangered 2018 candidates has been caught with his staffers submitting petitions with fake signatures in a bid to split the vote in his key swing district.
Staffers working for Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) have been soliciting signatures to put a third-party candidate on the ballot in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. The move is designed to siphon votes from Taylor’s opponent, Democrat Elaine Luria.
Now it has emerged that some of the signatures were fraudulent, and a special prosecutor will be investigating Taylor’s team.
Taylor’s seat has been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as one of it’s “red to blue” seats for 2018, and is part of the attempt to move control of the House to Democrats. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as “lean Republican,” and the most recent poll has found Luria within 6 points of Taylor.
So now, his staffers have been out and about scaring up signatures to place a candidate named Shaun Brown on the ballot as an independent. WHRO radio noted, “some believe her appearance on the ballot threatens to split the Democratic vote in a highly competitive race.”
One Virginia Beach resident told the Daily Press that despite his signature appearing on the petition, he did not sign it. He also told them that signatures on the petition from his parents and three other friends were phony.
Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said in his request for a special prosecutor that his office was investigating potential violations of election law and of forgery.
Another signature on the list is from R. Stuart Cake, an activist from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The problem is that Cake died on April 6. His widow, Elizabeth “Bet” Cake told a local radio show of the June 9 signature, “There’s no way that could have been signed by him at any time.”
Another woman moved from Virginia Beach to Nevada, where she has been a registered voter since 2014. Her name was on the petition from Taylor’s staff. “I definitely didn’t sign anything and I definitely didn’t give permission for anybody to sign anything,” she told the paper.
Taylor has been involved in several controversies before.
In an appearance on CNN, he said he opposed universal background checks for gun purchases, even though 97 percent of Republicans have backed the idea. Taylor has an “A” rating from the NRA.
Taylor has also been running defense for Corey Stewart, the Republican Party’s openly racist candidate for Virginia’s Senate seat. He asserted that he did not need to denounce Stewart’s racist rantings because “my son is named after a black guy.”
In 2016, Taylor won the race by 23 points. Trump won the district by only 4 points.
Taylor is a Trump apologist in a year where voters have said they want a Congress to keep Trump in check. That means trouble for those who are like Taylor, and Taylor’s reaction is to meddle in the election’s ballot process.
Now his machinations are coming to light and the plot may backfire.