Congressional candidate Scott Taylor sends cease and desist letter to incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria

Scott Taylor

FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, file photo, then Virginia’s 2nd District Congressman Scott Taylor speaks during an interview in his campaign office in Virginia Beach, Va. Taylor says he’s running for U.S. Senate in Virginia, hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Republican candidate for Congress Scott Taylor has sent a cease and desist letter to incumbent rival Representative Elaine Luria.

Taylor, a former congressman who is running for his old District 2 seat, claims the Luria campaign is making false claims regarding a 2018 petition investigation. The letter demands Luria stop making “false and defamatory claims” about Taylor.

One of Taylor’s staffers was convicted of misdemeanor woeful neglect of election duties in the case of election fraud in March. Prosecutors said the campaign tried to collect voter signatures for Taylor’s then-opponent, Shaun Brown, to get her on the ballot. A second staffer was indicted later that month.

“The Luria campaign is engaging in blatant lies out of desperation. This feeble attempt to confuse voters is only to distract from Luria’s failure to competently serve her own constituents. At all times, but especially during a global pandemic, our local elected officials must be available to listen to everyone in the community and eager to advocate for members of our community in need. Luria is falling far short of her duties to the voters. She is ineffective, unaccountable, and this lowly attempt to distract and confuse the voters from her pitiful record will not work,” Taylor said in a prepared statement in a news release Tuesday.

Luria said that Taylor shows a lack of leadership by trying to remove himself from culpability.

“Here is what we know to be true: Taylor’s campaign is still under investigation with more indictments likely. How high up it goes, only the Special Prosecutor knows. The direction to help put Shaun Brown on the ballot with fraudulent signatures was directed by Scott Taylor’s Virginia Beach Campaign Headquarters,” Luria’s campaign said in a response to Taylor’s letter.

“There has already been one Taylor campaign worker who has pleaded guilty in this investigation with another campaign worker set for trial in September. We believe there are likely to be more indictments to follow. Taylor oversaw the day-to-day operations of his campaign in 2018, and trying to remove himself from any potential culpability before the case is resolved is premature, absurd, and demonstrates lack of leadership and character. We look forward to hearing from the ultimate arbiter on this issue, the rule of law, and hope that Taylor’s campaign staff will start to cooperate with law enforcement as this investigation continues.”

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