VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — “Oh, no. I’m a Republican.” Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) was quick to point out when 10 On Your Side asked him about an ad getting a lot of airplay on WAVY-TV 10.
It mentions “independent leadership” and displays those words on the screen, but does not mention that he’s a Republican.
Taylor says don’t be misled, and his use of the term “independent leadership” is just his way of saying he can think for himself.
“I have an independent mind and voice, and sometimes I don’t always toe the line. People in my district are independent-minded.”
Taylor says his identity as a Republican has already been forged from his time in Congress, and before that, the House of Delegates.
“I’m a Republican. that’s pretty damn clear. I’ve served the district for a while now and people know me very well.”
Taylor’s messaging isn’t unusual.
Other Virginia congressmen use that approach in their bids for re-election, too, including Republican David Brat in the Richmond area. And so does Taylor’s opponent, Elaine Luria, who’s running as a Democrat.
10 On Your Side asked her about her ad without the word “Democrat” and she said she “intends to work across the aisle in Congress to be the most effective advocate” she can be.
Luria disputes Taylor’s claims that he’s an independent voice.
“Rep. Scott Taylor has voted with President Trump 100% of the time and along party lines 98% of the time. He is not the independent voice he promised to be and not the advocate we need now in Washington.”
You might also have seen Luria’s ad about Taylor and his petition controversy that went to court in Richmond. The ad says Taylor “refused to appear” at that hearing.
Actually, the judge quashed a subpoena — so Taylor didn’t have to appear.
The ad was made by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Luria said in an email Wednesday afternoon that she has no control over outside groups.
The DCCC says it’s a matter of semantics, and has no intention of pulling or editing the ad. Committee spokesman Jacob Peters sent this statement:
“Congressman Taylor hid behind his lawyer and used his taxpayer-funded job as an excuse to not appear before the court and answer questions about his involvement in what Judge Rupe called ‘out and out fraud’ committed by his campaign. Refuse, decline, deny – whatever synonym you want to choose, Congressman Taylor went out of his way to avoid answering questions then, and he still isn’t answering questions now.”
10 On Your Side asked Taylor’s office for response to the DCCC statement and will update this story when we get a response.