As the midterm elections this November get closer and closer, some familiar issues remain — like actual efforts from those in power or seeking power to suppress the vote. (President Donald Trump’s rampant grassroots level voter fraud is a fantasy.) This week, in that ongoing saga, a Virginia judge struck a Congressional candidate’s name from the ballot because some of the signatures they’d presented to get on the ballot in the first place had been faked.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Taylor’s campaign had helped independent Shaun Brown collect signatures in support of her candidacy. In the face of the scandal, Democrats sued to get her off the ballot — and Wednesday, they proved successful.
Among the ironic aspects is the fact that Taylor had previously run against Brown, beating her in the 2016 election by a massive margin of some 22 percent — but now, he wanted her on the ballot, which would split the Democratic vote and help him stay in office. His district is among those that Democrats are targeting in their efforts to pick up the some two dozen U.S. House seats needed to become the body’s majority party. The Cook Political Report has his seat among 27 total that “lean Republican.”
He’d previously been subpoenaed to appear in court Wednesday, but a judge ruled he didn’t have to, although he is certainly personally intertwined with the alleged activity.
He personally called local Lindsey Terry after she posted suspicions that her former neighbor’s signature on signature collection documents had been forged, admonishing her to take the material down. He also seems to have been in the area when the signature collection took place based on social media posts and not in D.C. as he’s claimed.
There’s an ongoing special prosecutor probe into his campaign staff in addition to the Democratic lawsuit. At least half a dozen people associated with the Taylor campaign have asserted they would plead the Fifth Amendment — meant to protect against self-incrimination — if asked whether or not the Congressman had personally directed them to fake signatures. The Taylor campaign jumped into help Brown get the 1,000 signatures she needed late in the game, but they ended up turning in some 600.
Brown had previously been in the running to be the Democratic nominee for the general election, but in the face of an ongoing fraud investigation, she dropped out and ran as an independent, letting Elaine Luria take the metaphorical stage as the party nominee.
Luria has since appeared at event with high profile figures like Senator Tim Kaine — who’s facing a curious electoral battle of his own against alleged white nationalist Corey Stewart — and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott.
Taylor is not the only incumbent Republican to face legal trouble ahead of November.
U.S. Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter have both been indicted, Collins for insider trading and Hunter for a systematic pattern of using campaign funds for personal purposes.
It all adds up to the around 7 in 9 chance FiveThirtyEight estimates Democrats have of taking control of the U.S. House this fall.
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