July 10, 2019 News

Worst. Rollout. Ever: Scott Taylor 2020 starts like Scott Taylor 2018 ended


by Jake Rubenstein

Worst. Rollout. Ever: Scott Taylor 2020 starts like Scott Taylor 2018 ended

Scott Taylor’s campaign for United States Senate has started just like his losing 2018 race for Congress: scandal, criminal investigation, and confusion.

In his “rollout” on Monday, Taylor was met with

  • Confirmation from Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell that he may still be under investigation for fraud for the forgery his campaign committed in 2018.
  • Renewed reporting on his association with indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter, including that he and Hunter exchanged campaign contributions after Hunter was indicted.
  • Coverage of the fact that this is the 5th office Taylor has explored running for in just the last ten years.

And to top it off, Taylor skipped his own introductory press conference in Richmond – possibly because he didn’t want to answer questions on the criminal forgery investigation, the affiliations with Hunter, or why he is running for yet another political office.

Not the way you want to start a political campaign! See below for a taste of Taylor’s disastrous rollout....

Republican Scott Taylor, a former congressman, to challenge Sen. Mark Warner  (Washington Post, July 8)

The Democratic Party of Virginia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Taylor’s record of voting with Trump, the petitions scandal and his connection to indicted congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

In 2018, Hunter was accused of using campaign funds to pay for travel, dinner and drinks with women with whom he had extramarital affairs. Shortly after that, the state party noted, Taylor’s political action committee donated to Hunter’s reelection and accepted a donation from Hunter’s political action committee.

Former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor announces bid to unseat Sen. Mark Warner (Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 8)

Taylor’s first day as a Senate candidate got off to a rocky start; a 2 p.m. news conference at a Richmond law firm was pushed back until 3:30 p.m., and when reporters arrived they were told it was pushed back to 5 p.m. Then the Taylor campaign sent an email to reporters saying it was canceled because of unexpected travel delays.

Fresh Off Staffer’s Election Fraud Indictment, Scott Taylor Runs For Senate (TPM, July 8)

In May, former Taylor campaign staffer Lauren Creekmore was indicted on two counts of election fraud for her role in a petition forgery scheme that a state judge had earlier called “out and out fraud.”

Taylor’s first known reaction to the alleged signature forgeries, as reported by TPM, was an attempt to bury the story. After a local Democratic volunteer posted online about a forged signature belonging to her former neighbor, who’d moved to Nevada and wasn’t eligible to sign a petition form, Taylor called the Democrat and pressured her to scrub the allegation from the web. After the Creekmore indictment, Taylor, who’s claimed ignorance of his staffers’ activities, threatened defamation lawsuits.

Scott Taylor to challenge Mark Warner for U.S. Senate seat (Virginian-Pilot, July 8)

Taylor's last run for office was embroiled in controversy when his campaign was accused of falsifying petition signatures to help an independent candidate get on the ballot in the 2nd Congressional District. One of Taylor's campaign staffers was indicted on two counts of election fraud. 

Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney Don Caldwell, who was asked to look into the forgery allegations, wrote in a news release that the “investigation continues into all aspects of potential election improprieties surrounding the petitions filed by (Brown) which have been traced back to people associated with the Taylor campaign.”

Republican Scott Taylor, a former congressman, to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (WP, July 8)

The Democratic Party of Virginia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Taylor’s record of voting with Trump, the petitions scandal and his connection to indicted congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

In 2018, Hunter was accused of using campaign funds to pay for travel, dinner and drinks with women with whom he had extramarital affairs. Shortly after that, the state party noted, Taylor’s political action committee donated to Hunter’s reelection and accepted a donation from Hunter’s political action committee.

Former GOP rep launches Senate campaign in Virginia (The Hill, July 8)

His reelection campaign faltered after his campaign staffers were accused of forging voter signatures to put a third-party “spoiler" candidate on the ballot. His campaign is currently being investigated by a special prosecutor.

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