19 September 2018
President Donald Trump isn’t the only Republican politician fending off claims of collusion. There’s Scott Taylor. He is a heretofore little-known ex-Navy SEAL-turned-congressman from Virginia Beach, distinguished as well by what The Washington Post describes as “Top-Gun looks.” Taylor might achieve another distinction: defeating himself.
In Virginia’s Republican-leaning 2nd District, spanning from Williamsburg to the Atlantic Coast and across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore, Taylor has, over the past month, made himself the issue by conceding his staff helped put a spoiler candidate on the ballot to improve his chances of defeating Elaine Luria, a retired Navy commander who could become the first Annapolis alumna in Congress.
That independent candidate’s name was ordered removed from the ballot on Sept. 5 by a Richmond circuit judge. Ruling in a lawsuit brought by Democrats, Judge Gregory Rupe said ballot-access petitions submitted by Taylor’s employees included forgeries, names of the dead and fake addresses, representing “out-and-out fraud.”
22 August 2018
The last major primary night before the November election packed a major surprise: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum edged out former Rep. Gwen Graham to capture the Florida Democratic gubernatorial nomination, taking a major step toward being Florida's first black governor.
Gillum's victory -- particularly in a state as crucial to the presidential primary and general election process -- has lessons in it for any ambitious Democrat trying to understand the mentality and beliefs of the party base heading into 2020. Here are five.
1. You can't be too liberal. Gillum was, without question, the choice of liberals in this race. Wealthy California businessman Tom Steyer, who has run ads nationally calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached, was an early supporter of Gillum's. So, too, were George Soros and Vermont democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Gillum ran as an unapologetic progressive, advocating for single-payer health insurance and calling for Trump's impeachment.
22 August 2018
An election fraud scandal is roiling Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, which Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA, pictured above), an iron-pumping, flag-wearing former Navy SEAL, has represented for most of one term.
Forty-one voters and counting have asserted in affidavits that their signatures — or the signatures of their relatives, both living and deceased — were forged in order to get the 2016 Democratic congressional nominee on the ballot as an independent.
The apparent aim of the alleged forgery scheme was to split Democratic voters between last cycle’s nominee, Shaun Brown, and this year’s nominee, Elaine Luria.
As it happens, Taylor’s own paid campaign staffers collected the signatures in question — and indicated that they “witnessed the signature of each person who signed this page” and “understand that falsely signing this affidavit is a felony.”
7 August 2018
Democratic lieutenant governors are forming a campaign group to rival the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, the latest bid by Democrats to catch up to Republicans in down-ballot fundraising.
The Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, announced Tuesday, will raise money for lieutenant governor candidates ahead of the November elections, though the group said it does not have a benchmark for how much it might raise and spend.
Democrats are badly outnumbered by Republican governors and lieutenant governors, and the Republican Governors Association routinely outraises its Democratic counterpart.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association’s first chairman, told POLITICO that the 2016 election created a “great sense of urgency” among Democrats to ratchet up their campaign operations in the states.
17 August 2018
A second debate in the 2nd Congressional District election has been organized, a spokesperson for the Hampton Roads Chamber said Thursday. U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Elaine Luria have agreed to debate Oct. 23 at a Chamber luncheon, said Priscilla Monti, the organization’s communications vice president. Details about the location and moderator have not been determined, she said.
Taylor and Luria also are scheduled to debate Oct. 30 at a luncheon forum sponsored by the Central Business District Association in Virginia Beach. The event at the Westin Town Center hotel is to be moderated by public relations executive Joel Rubin. Tickets, which go on sale next month, are $40 for association members and $55 for non-members. The CBDA debate – a week before the Nov. 6 election – is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Westin Town Center hotel and is open to the public, said Evans-Cox. Tickets, which go on sale next month, are $40 for association members and $55 for non-members. The moderator will be public relations executive Joel Rubin.
Taylor, who was first elected in 2016, is seeking a second two-year term. Luria, owner of The Mermaid Factory, is making her first bid for elected office. The 2nd District includes all of Virginia Beach and the state’s Eastern Shore, as well as Norfolk’s north side and several localities on the Peninsula, including Williamsburg and York County.
21 August 2018
Big news today, August 20. In response to the recent court ruling that determined several Virginia house districts had been drawn to effectively dilute the vote of minority voters (racial gerrymandering), Governor Ralph Northam has called a special session for August 30th to address the need to redraw these districts and those adjoining them. Read Gov. Northam's Press Release on this topic below.
August 16 was the first meeting of the Aquaculture Work Group, led by Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler. I am proud to be a part of this work group as we work to find consensus on both the promotion of sustainable growth for Virginia's growing aquaculture industry and solutions for the increasing number of user-conflict issues that have accompanied the growth of this industry.
Aquaculture and the quality of life of coastal residents are not unique to the Sixth Senate District, but they both play an outsized role in comparison to other districts throughout the state. For that reason, I am eager to be a voice for the 6th district. I also hope to be a conduit for ideas and solutions as they pertain to both the continued support of an industry critical to a healthy Bay & a healthy economy and the quality of life for constituents living on the water throughout the district, from Chincoteague to Norfolk to Gwynns Island.
15 August 2018
As governor, my mission is to build economic opportunity for all Virginians, no matter who you are or where you live, and our administration has hit the ground running. We’ve worked across the aisle to pass a balanced state budget that expands healthcare access to working Virginians, and invests in core priorities such as education, workforce development, and public safety. And we deposited money to the Commonwealth’s financial reserves to help us during the next economic downturn — preserving Virginia’s AAA bond rating in the process.
That’s the kind of progress we make when we focus on solutions, and don’t let politics keep us from working together. That’s what the Virginia Way means to me, and the way ahead can be a model for our Commonwealth, and the rest of the country.
This year, Virginia was ranked one of the top four states to do business in the nation, and we’ve maintained the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.
Ten years after the Great Recession, even in a state as economically strong as Virginia, there are places where the economy is still struggling. Many, though certainly not all, of those struggling communities are in rural Virginia — the Southwest, Southside, and Eastern Shore (where I grew up).
Democrats could have a strong issue to run on if the extreme weather persists and President Trump continues to dismiss climate change.
14 August 2018
What if this time is different?
There is an assumption that the 2020 presidential election will be business as usual: Donald Trump will run on the economy, social issues and immigration, and the Democratic candidate will run on income inequality, Democratic socialism and Trump’s character — the 2020 version of right-left U.S. politics.
But I believe there’s a sleeper issue out there that could force its way into the election. What if Mother Nature is on the ballot?
What if all the extreme weather this year — linked to climate change — gets even worse and more costly? What if the big 2020 issue is not left-right — but hot-cold or wet-dry? What if the big 2020 issue is not “Who lost Russia?” or “Who lost North Korea?” but “Who lost planet Earth?”
4 July 2018
Ask Lizzie Morasco what she hopes to accomplish by knocking on doors, setting up registration tables and organizing lemonade stands across Pennsylvania, and the activist is quick to answer. “We will be getting out a record number of young people to vote in November and getting them to remain civically engaged.”
That enthusiasm and commitment are the hallmarks of NextGen America, a progressive-minded political action committee founded by billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer in 2013. Morasco, 29, is the PACs regional organizing director in four Pennsylvania counties, including Bucks.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” is the slogan for NextGen America, which derives its name and mission from the belief that millennials (commonly considered those age 21 to 35) are the driving force behind change in the country’s political landscape.
NextGen is dropping $3.5 million in Pennsylvania to register young voters, according to Julia Ackerly, 27, the state’s organizing director. “Millennials are the largest voting block in Pennsylvania,” Ackerly said.
13 August 2018
A new group of black business executives said Monday that it will spend millions of dollars in the midterm elections backing candidates who champion economic causes benefiting African-Americans.
The group, Black Economic Alliance, is officially nonpartisan, but it is backing four Democrats in its first round of endorsements: Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia and gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Ben Jealous in Maryland and Richard Cordray in Ohio.
The group unveiled its plans a day after the one-year anniversary of the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tony Coles, the group’s co-chairman, told POLITICO the alliance has raised about $3.5 million and expects to raise several million dollars more.
Organizers said the group will invest in competitive midterm elections in states and districts with large African-American populations where turnout of black voters could prove decisive.
23 July 2018
According to Pew Research, 83 percent of the registered voters who identify as Republican are non-Hispanic whites. The Republican Party is whiter than Tilda Swinton riding a polar bear in a snowstorm to a Taylor Swift concert.
And not only is the Grand Ole Party unapologetically white, recently it has been disposing of its dog whistles in favor of bullhorns, becoming more unabashedly racist every day. Aside from its leader excusing a white supremacist murder, calling Mexicans “rapists,” referring to “shithole countries” and settling multiple discrimination lawsuits, there is an abundance of evidence that shows the party’s racism.
Nearly half of the country (49 percent) believes Donald Trump is racist but 86 percent of Republicans say he is not, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. The same survey shows that 79 percent of Republicans approve of the way the president handles race.
9 August 2018
The race for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District seat took a serious legal turn on Tuesday when a special prosecutor was named to investigate possible forgery and violations of election law.
The move adds even more intrigue to a strange tale of political scheming that involves U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor’s campaign staff and its help in getting one of his opponents placed on the November ballot.
Start with this fact: A man who died in April is among the “voters” who supposedly signed a petition in June to enable Shaun Brown to be on the ballot as an independent candidate — even though she is facing federal corruption charges and has virtually no chance of winning.
Brown barely qualified to run, and might not have done so without the generous support of Taylor’s campaign team. At least four paid staffers collected signatures for her at the last minute.
16 July 2018
Democrat Elaine Luria collected close to $1 million in campaign donations in recent months, giving her a boost in an election challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor.
Taylor, who is seeking a second term in the 2nd District, also raised a significant amount of cash but not as much as Luria, according to new Federal Election Commission reports posted online Monday.
Luria, a Virginia Beach businesswoman, reported collecting slightly more than $945,000 in donations between April 1 and June 30, with most of the money coming in after she won the June 12 Democratic primary.
Taylor, a Republican, collected just over $740,000 in that same time period. However, he reported having more cash on hand as of June 30 than did Luria: $1 million compared to $818,000.
Luria’s cash infusion, assisted by Democratic groups that have targeted Taylor, is a collection of individual donations from inside and outside the district and major contributions from political action committees tied to her party, labor, women’s rights and progressive organizations. She vowed not to accept any contributions from PACs tied to corporations.
9 August 2018
Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th district – setting her up to be the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.
Tlaib beat out a crowded field of Democrats to replace Rep. John Conyers, the 89-year-old Democrat who retired in December, citing health reasons. Conyers, who was the longest-serving congressman, made the decision to step down just weeks after multiple sexual harassment allegations surfaced.
“I want people across the country to know that you don’t need to sell out,” Tlaib told supporters early Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times. “You don’t have to change who you are to run for office – and that is what this country is about.”
No Republicans or third-party challengers ran in the election, meaning she is set to run unopposed for the seat in November.