Ben Loyola, a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 2nd District, slammed former Rep. Scott Taylor, a fellow Republican, on Monday over a news report that said Taylor is abandoning his bid to challenge Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and will instead run for his former House seat.
Loyola is running to challenge Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd, who beat Taylor a year ago to flip the Hampton Roads seat that is based in Virginia Beach.
Taylor announced in July that he would run for U.S. Senate and has raised more than $312,000 for the effort, according to the Federal Election Commission. He did not respond to a request for an interview yesterday, but his campaign manager, Regan Roberts, said by email that Taylor has received “an outpouring of calls and requests” for him to reconsider his decision to run for Senate and not seek to regain the congressional seat.
Washington news outlet The Hill on Monday, citing two anonymous sources, reported that Taylor will drop his bid to challenge Warner and run for his old seat.
Loyola said he disagreed with the principle of someone raising money to run for a race and then “at the last minute” changing races.
“He’s told millions of our fellow Virginians that he’s running for Senate, and he’s taken contributions, and now he’s switching,” said Loyola, who said he’s confident he can still win the nomination.
“Trump won the district and we’re going to win it back,” he said.
In a news release, Loyola spokesman Peter Finocchio attacked Taylor as a “career politician” — a line of attack Democrats also have used. He said Taylor lacked support from conservatives and his campaign was “rocked by a devastating ballot petition scandal.”
In a widely reported scandal that affected his re-election, Taylor’s staff signed off on forged signatures in an attempt to get an independent candidate, Shaun Brown, on the ballot in the November 2018 general election, an attempt to draw votes away from Luria and frustrate the Democrats.
Taylor has said he did not know about the forged signatures.
One former Taylor aide was indicted in May on two felony counts of election fraud.
Among Republicans seeking to challenge Warner are Daniel Gade of Alexandria, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and Iraq War combat veteran; and Omari Faulkner of Loudoun County, a Navy reservist who was a basketball player at Georgetown University.