Former congressman whose campaign was charged with election fraud running for Senate

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) served just one term in the House before losing his GOP-leaning seat in the 2018 midterms.

Former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) was ousted in November 2018 after a series of ethical questions. Now he is running for Senate.
Former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) was ousted in November 2018 after a series of ethical questions. Now he is running for Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One-term Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA)’s 2018 re-election campaign did not go well. But despite a series of ethical scandals and unpopular votes that led to his defeat in a Republican-leaning House district last year, he announced Monday that he plans to seek his party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in 2020.

Taylor, who is at this point best known for a controversial signature-gathering scandal, made the announcement on Fox & Friends. He said the rationale for his campaign was that incumbent Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) had “few signature accomplishments” in his two terms in the Senate.

“We have a leadership crisis in Virginia,” he said. “We need a fresh start in the Senate.”

Taylor, a two-term state legislator, was elected in 2016 in a southeastern Virginia congressional district that also narrowly backed President Donald Trump. He voted with Trump 97.8% of the time, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight, including backing Obamacare repeal and tax cuts for the wealthy.


Taylor first came under public scrutiny for a number of ethics controversies last year. In June, a Virginian-Pilot investigation found that he had failed to pay $11,842 in property taxes, interest, and penalty charges on rental properties he owned. Taylor’s spokesman responded that his boss “got busy with everything going on” saying it had simply “slipped his mind.”

“I think he just got caught up with everything in Washington. All the traveling and the primary and everything. It was just a lapse,” the spokesperson said. “That’s what he said to me.”

Taylor himself tweeted that he was making no excuses and had since taken care of the debt. He also criticized the newspaper and Democratic opponents for running what he called a “hit piece.”

In August, he made news again when it was reported that his campaign had allegedly tried to get a former Democrat-turned-Independent candidate onto the ballot, in an alleged effort to divide his opposition. The Virginian-Pilot claimed that some of the signatures his staffers had collected were allegedly from people who denied signing or had died.

A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate controversy, and the Independent candidate was kicked off the ballot after a judge found “out-and-out fraud” in the signature gathering effort. One of Taylor’s former staffers was also charged with election fraud.


Taylor has vigorously denied involvement with and knowledge of the forgery and the special prosecutor found no collusion between the congressman and Independent candidate. However the prosecutor noted that Taylor was aware of the not-illegal scheme to use his campaign resources to aid the Independent candidate.

Taylor was defeated in November by Rep. Elaine Luria (D), and the special prosecutor publicly called Taylor’s defeat “poetic justice.”

The investigation is ongoing.

ThinkProgress has reached out to Taylor for comment on the allegations and his current campaign plans and is awaiting a response.