VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Congressman and former Navy SEAL Scott Taylor was unseated in the 2nd Congressional District by Democrat and former Navy commander Elaine Luria on Tuesday in a razor-thin race.
The traditionally Republican district voted Luria into office with 51 percent to Taylor’s 49 percent.
For the first time since election night, Taylor spoke exclusively with 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox about the results, what he believes led to his loss, when he first realized he was going to lose and more.
Luria got 6,000 more votes to take the seat in the House of Representatives from the incumbent, and contributed to the blue wave across the country for the House that put Democrats in the majority for the first time in 8 years.
It was only two short years ago when Scott told 10 On Your Side after winning his first term to the House, “I’m humbled the people of the Second District would entrust me with this responsibility.”
Two years later Scott Taylor says why he thinks he lost re-election, “you had millions and millions of dollars from outside groups that came in to paint me as a demon, and the top of the ticket (Corey Stewart lost to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine 56.9% to 41.2%) lost by double digits, and that’s tough.”
However, Taylor knows the big reason why he lost, and that’s when campaign workers forged signatures to get independent Shaun Brown on the ballot to split the Democratic vote with Democrat Elaine Luria, so Taylor had a better shot to win, and it backfired. He did not know his staffers were forging the signatures, but he did know they were gathering signatures to get Shaun Brown on the ballot, and that is something Taylor could have stopped, but didn’t, “No doubt. That is 100%…I do regret it, Yes.”
Taylor shared what he told Luria after she won, “We are standing by to help you anyway we can, your success is our success.”
He also hopes his supporters are civil toward Luria, “It’s way more divisive now. It’s nastier. I would hope my supporters on our side don’t act that way. I hope that they don’t come out and protest and be nasty to Elaine.”
Taylor said Monday before the election, “I’m going to win.”
That was a confident Taylor, but two days after the election admits, “I was surprised. There were contributing factors, but I thought we would overcome that.”
Taylor couldn’t counter the bombardment of negative ads against him from many groups including Luria. He saw first hand the toxic atmosphere of this election, and wishes during the last two years he would have reached out more
“If I had to do it again, I would reach out even more so on the local level, and talk to people to try to defuse some of that, but it’s tough because you are a man.”
Sitting with Taylor for our interview, Taylor’s big brother of 27 years, Andy Jones, who came into Taylor’s life as part of the Big Brother Big Sister program. Jones says he was first introduced to Taylor in a letter where Taylor wanted someone who could come to his sporting events since he did not have a father figure in his life.
Taylor is the only little brother in the U.S. Congress.
“He has been very positive about it, he looks at the bright side of things, and he is going to be just fine,” said Jones on Taylor’s loss.
Taylor knows this was his race to lose, and he did. He said he’s not the guy who sits around and says “should-a, could-a, would-a. It does nothing. You learn your lessons, move forward. Taylor said, “that’s what I’ve always done, and that’s what I will do now.”
He’s most proud of his office’s constituent service. “Constituent service is very important, and my team has closed 1,400-1,500 cases to help constituents navigate Social Security, Medicare disabilities, and veteran issues. They have changed the lives of people in this district.”
He’s proud how he created and got the Ashanti Billie Alert Bill through the House of Representatives.
“We passed a bill holding senior executives of the VA accountable and that is huge. Veterans issues, and there is going to be a hospital built on the Southside that is directly due to our team’s efforts.”
What does Taylor do now? He’s not sure, “I have already received texts and calls about potential opportunities. Things like that, but I just don’t know. I want to take some time and think about things, figure out what do I want to do and what is my next purpose?”
Another run for office is not out of the question either.
Some people gathered at the Town Center Cold Pressed think he should run for governor, maybe even president.
Taylor laughed it off, but you get the feeling you haven’t heard the last of Scott Taylor.
“I’ve lost before. I’ve failed before. You get back up, and you move forward. That’s the way life is. That’s what happens. I think it is tough for folks on our team, and our supporters.”