Amid Special Prosecutor Investigation, Scott Taylor Drops Out of Debate
A Republican congressman in Virginia has canceled a debate appearance on a public radio station after it broke a story about his campaign gathering signatures to help put an independent candidate on November’s ballot.
Taylor’s decision to pull out of October’s debate is latest development in what’s become an increasingly dramatic race on Virginia’s coast.
Schmidt also stood by WHRV’s reporting,
“This is not any sort of partisan, gotcha thing,” Schmidt said. “We report things on the ground.”
U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor withdrew from a WHRO-sponsored Oct. 23 debate with Democratic candidate Elaine Luria because he is upset with the station’s news coverage of a controversy involving his campaign staff helping an independent candidate get on the ballot, WHRO president Bert Schmidt said Monday.
WHRO’s radio affiliate WHRV-FM first reported that Taylor campaign workers helped Shaun Brown collect petitions and produced a second radio report about invalid signatures.
“Integrity is doing what’s right when no one is looking,” said [Elaine Luria] the Norfolk businesswoman. “There’s a lot of questions for Scott Taylor and his staff to answer about this current situation with the petitions.”
Voters are talking about it to her, she said: “What people are bringing up is there’s underhanded gamesmanship of trying to meddle with the ballot.”
The announcement comes amid a special prosecutor's investigation into accusations that two Taylor staffers forged signatures to get Brown on the November ballot, essentially splitting the Democratic vote between Brown and Luria.
It’s becoming clear that as he dodges questions about his role in this scandal, Congressman Taylor is terrified of facing Commander Luria one on one, whether that’s on the ballot or on the debate stage,” said Kathryn Sorenson, Elaine Luria’s campaign manager, in response to Taylor's debate announcement.
Schmidt responded to the accusation saying, “WHRO has regularly hosted impartial congressional debates. We’re sorry he dropped out. We think it’s the voters who lose out.”
The pulling out of WHRO’s debate comes after signatures collected to let Independent candidate for Congress Shaun Brown on the ballot have come into question after several people came forward saying they never signed the petition. Taylor’s staff helped in the efforts to get Brown on the ballot by collecting signatures.
Now, a special prosecutor is investigating whether Taylor’s staff did anything illegal.
Congressman Scott Taylor announced he's dropping out of a WHRO-sponsored debate this fall with Democrat Elaine Luria.
A 13News Now investigation has uncovered that some of the signatures collected by Taylor staffers appear to be forged. Some signatures are of dead people.
Luria spoke with us about those questionable signatures.
"I'm out campaigning, knocking thousands of doors, talking to voters and we're talking about issues that are important to people across the Second District," she said. "So I'm really not concerned if there are two or threeother people on the ballot. I think that our message will carry weight."