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Scott Taylor (politician)

Scott William Taylor (born June 27, 1979) is an American politician and former Navy SEAL who served as the United States Representative for Virginia's 2nd congressional district from 2017 to 2019. A Republican, he was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for the 85th district. On November 6, 2018, Taylor was defeated for reelection by Democrat and U.S. Navy veteran Elaine Luria.[1] On July 8, 2019, he announced his intention to run for the United States Senate in 2020.[2]

Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byScott Rigell
Succeeded byElaine Luria
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 85th district
In office
January 8, 2014 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byBob Tata
Succeeded byRocky Holcomb
Personal details
Scott William Taylor

(1979-06-27) June 27, 1979 (age 40)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationOld Dominion University
Harvard University (ALB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1997–2005
UnitNavy SEALs
Battles/warsIraq War

Early life and careerEdit

Scott William Taylor[3] was born in Baltimore and raised in Hebron, Maryland.

After high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served with the SEALs, first taking part in counternarcotics and foreign intelligence defense missions. He is fluent in Spanish and served overseas in South and Central America in counternarcotics and foreign internal defense missions.[4]

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Taylor was a SEAL sniper, and he spent two years as a SEAL instructor teaching marksmanship and reconnaissance. Taylor appeared in the Discovery Channel feature Secrets of Seal Team 6.[5][4]

After leaving the military, Taylor worked in security consulting and critical infrastructure protection, frequently traveling to Yemen. He earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts concentrating on International Relations from Harvard University's Harvard Extension School[6] and also received a certificate in government contracting from Old Dominion University.

Political careerEdit

In 2008, Taylor ran for Mayor of Virginia Beach, Virginia.[7] He was a candidate in the 2010 primary election for Virginia's 2nd congressional district, but lost to Scott Rigell. Taylor was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 85th district in November 2013, where, as a delegate, Taylor cosponsored a bill to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in labor and housing.[8]

In 2012, Taylor founded and served as chairman for the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, a 501(c) Political Action Committee formed in 2012 accusing the Obama Administration of security leaks and taking too much credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.[9][10]

House of RepresentativesEdit

2016 electionEdit

In 2016, after the incumbent Scott Rigell, a Republican, announced he would not seek re-election, Taylor won the Republican Party nomination for Virginia's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, defeating Randy Forbes in the primary,[11][12] then defeated Democrat Shaun Brown, 61.3% to 38.5%, to win the general election on November 8, 2016.[13] Taylor was a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership,[14] as well as of the Republican Study Committee[15] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[16]

2018 election and ballot fraud investigationEdit

In May 2018, former Navy commander Elaine Luria announced her intention to run for Taylor's seat. In the June 10 Democratic primary, Luria received 62% of the vote, defeating Karen Mallard, who received 38%.[17] In the Republican primary, Taylor readily defeated Mary Jones, 76% to 24%.[18]

On August 7, 2018, the Virginia commonwealth's attorney appointed a special prosecutor to investigate fraudulent petitions circulated by members of Taylor's 2018 campaign staff on behalf of independent candidate Shaun Brown.[19][20] A FOIA request made by WHRO found that four paid workers on Taylor's campaign had collected signatures to put Shaun Brown on the ballot as an independent candidate in the 2nd district race. Gathering signatures to put another candidate on the ballot is legal, and observers believe that Brown's "appearance on the ballot threatens to split the Democratic vote in a highly competitive race."[21] In August, following allegations that some of the signatures gathered by his staff were forged, Taylor said "My campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate activities" and he severed ties with his campaign consultant.[22][23] In May 2019, one of the four staffers was indicted on two counts of election fraud, a felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.[24]

On September 5, 2018, after hearing testimony in a civil lawsuit, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Gregory L. Rupe ordered the removal of Brown's name from the 2nd District ballot on the basis that 377 signatures were fraudulently collected for Brown by four Taylor staffers. The staffers filed affidavits with the court that if called to testify as to whether Taylor directed their efforts to collect or forge the signatures, they would invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Taylor's former campaign consultant, Rob Catron, also filed an affidavit saying that he too would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if asked whether he knew the signatures were forged, and whether or not there had been an attempt to defraud the State Board of Elections.[22] A criminal investigation into ballot fraud in the matter by a Virginia state special prosecutor continues to be active.[25]

On November 6, 2018, Taylor lost to Luria, taking 48.9 percent of the vote to Luria's 51.1 percent.[1] Taylor only won three of the district's nine county-level jurisdictions, and only carried one of its independent cities, Poquoson. He even lost his hometown of Virginia Beach.[26]

Bills passed into lawEdit

  • The U.S. Congress:

Taylor proposed a VA SEA Act from his concerns with senior VA officials’ responses to complaints about poor management at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His Act became a law in 2018.[27] The U.S. Congress also passed his Ashanti Alert Act making it a law.[28] He also proposed a Defense Roads Appropriations language which became a law stating that the Department of Defense can work with the Department of Transportation to help fund off-base projects in the areas of reoccurring floods and sea level rise.[29][30]

  • The House of Delegates:

Taylor passed an equity crowdfunding bill into a law which makes it easier for small businesses to access capital.[31][32][33] He also established The Veterans Services Foundation Act which states that, to support its mission, the foundation can accept funds from all sources including private fundraising and others.[34] He also passed a bill to establish a veterans resource center with at least one full-time veterans advisor on the campus of each of the seven comprehensive community colleges in the Commonwealth.[35]

2020 Senate electionEdit

On July 8, 2019, Taylor announced that he was running for the United States Senate against two-term incumbent Mark Warner in the 2020 election. In an interview with the Associated Press after announcing his candidacy, Taylor said that his military service and moderate record on social issues could help attract voters. He accused Warner of moving away from centrist pro-business policies that he embraced as governor and focused too heavily on fostering the "illusion" that Donald Trump colluded with Russia.[36]

Political stancesEdit


Taylor personally opposes abortion and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion.[37]


In April 2018, Taylor praised President Trump for the "measured" and "calculated" military action carried out under his direction in Syria in conjunction with the French and British. Taylor said that he was "torn" in regard to taking international military action, but in the case of Syria he felt that Trump "listened to his advisers".[38]

LGBT rightsEdit

Asked in 2010 about the pending end of Don't Ask Don't Tell, he said, "I encourage everyone to honorably serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation. Heterosexual relationships are not permitted to take place while our men and women serve their country, so I believe this to be a completely political move."[3]

In September 2017, Taylor said he opposed the ban on transgender persons in the military. "If you are able to serve, serve," he said. "I don't care if you are gay, straight, transgender or not. If you are ready to go, cool." He added, however, that the military should not have to pay for gender-reassignment surgery.[39]

As of May 2017, Taylor is a cosponsor of H.R. 2282, the version of the Equality Act submitted in the House of Representatives during the 115th Congress.[40]


Taylor supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "While I do not agree with some of the rhetoric, taking a pause, figuring out if we are properly vetting people, and making changes if necessary to continue our American principles is prudent and needed. The safety and protection of our citizens must remain our number one priority."[41]

In 2018, Taylor stated that he opposed deporting people who were brought into the United States illegally as children.[42] He also said that he wanted to find ways for others who were in the country illegally to "get right with the law." Taylor favors increasing immigration enforcement and border security but opposes Trump's plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico.[43]

Cannabis legalizationEdit

On February 27, 2017, Taylor was an original cosponsor for bill H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.[44]


On May 4, 2017, Taylor voted Yes on H.R. 1628 (AHCA of 2017).[45]

Energy and the environmentEdit

Taylor accepts that climate change is happening, but argues that there are questions as to humans' contribution to climate change.[37] Taylor said, "there are the questions about what man can do about" climate change.[37]

During Taylor's unsuccessful congressional primary campaign in 2010, he voiced support for offshore oil drilling along Virginia's coast.[46] In 2018, after President Trump announced plans to lift a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Taylor voiced his opposition, saying that drilling could interfere with military training and citing opposition from localities within his district.[47]


Taylor supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He came under criticism for this from his 2018 Democratic challenger, Elaine Luria, who argued that most of the benefits of the bill went to the wealthiest people, and that 98% of families only saw an average tax cut of $688. "I can tell you right now that $688 could be the difference between the lights going on or off," said Taylor, adding he was raised by a single mother on a modest income. "Nine out of ten people in this district have seen more money in their own pockets… I know the benefit of that tax reform here and I'm proud I supported it."[42]

Donald TrumpEdit

In February 2017, following Trump's likening of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany, Taylor said that President Donald Trump and the intelligence community "need to get on the same page very quickly."[48] He criticized Trump's decision to place Steve Bannon on the National Security Council.[37]

Asked about President Trump's expenditures of millions of taxpayer dollars on the travel and security of his family, Taylor said that the expenses were "a legitimate concern" but argued that the Obama family spent similar amounts.[37]

As of October 2018, FiveThirtyEight found that Taylor voted with Trump's position 97.8% of the time.[49]


He published a book in February 2015, Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and The Selling Out of America's National Security.[50] In his book, he criticized Vice President Joe Biden for revealing that it was SEAL Team Six that killed Osama bin Laden. He blamed the poor diplomatic security that led to the Benghazi fiasco on the Obama administration's desire for a "light footprint" in Libya, which he argues was caused by a foreign-policy doctrine that placed U.S. interests underneath partisan politics.[51]


  1. ^ a b Finley, Ben (November 6, 2018). "Luria Defeats Taylor in Virginia's 2nd House District". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Montanaro, David (July 8, 2019). "Former Rep. Scott Taylor announces Virginia Senate run to challenge Mark Warner". Fox News. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Payne, Kimball (June 6, 2010). "BIO: Scott Taylor". Daily Press. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Leon, Melissa (April 20, 2018). "Congressman and former Navy SEAL takes selfie with his protestors". American Military News.
  5. ^ "From the deserts of Yemen to DC: One freshman congressman's journey". Washington Examiner. December 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "Two Harvard Extension School alumni elected to U.S. House of Representatives". Harvard Gazette. November 21, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "Scott Taylor to Run for Virginia's 2nd Congressional District Seat" (PDF). Scott Taylor for Congress. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  8. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (February 18, 2016). "Va. House vote hints at a generational divide on gay rights". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Tapper, Jake (August 21, 2012). "President Obama Says He Doesn't Take Anti-Obama Navy SEALs Group "Too Seriously"". ABC News.
  10. ^ McConnell, Dugald (August 17, 2012). "Former special forces officers slam Obama over leaks on bin Laden killing". CNN.
  11. ^ Dilanian, Ken (August 16, 2012). "Group attacking Obama for security leaks includes past talkers". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Bartel, Bill; Parker, Stacy (June 14, 2016). "Scott Taylor defeats veteran Randy Forbes in 2nd Congressional primary thanks to feisty grassroots campaign". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  13. ^ "Shaun Brown". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "Members". Republican Main Street Partnership. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  15. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "Climate Solutions Caucus - Citizens' Climate Lobby". Citizens' Climate Lobby. Archived from the original on November 22, 2018. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "In US House Race, Former Navy Commander Targets Former SEAL". WBOC-TV. May 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Elaine Luria". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  19. ^ "Prosecutor will investigate candidate's ballot paperwork". Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Associated Press. August 7, 2018. p. 5.
  20. ^ Ress, Dave (August 7, 2018). "More complaints of false names on petitions for Hampton candidate". Daily Press. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  21. ^ Bibeau, Paul (August 1, 2018). "Taylor Campaign Workers Helped Put Shaun Brown on the Ballot as an Independent Candidate". WHRO-FM. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Wilson, Patrick (August 6, 2018). "Names of dead man and voter who moved show up on petition Rep. Scott Taylor's staff gathered for independent candidate". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved August 1, 2018.|quote="Last month, after news of the forgeries, Taylor announced that he was severing ties with his campaign consultant. Rob Catron, the former consultant, signed an affidavit saying that if he testified, he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if asked whether he knew there were forged signatures, whether Taylor directed the effort to gather signatures for Brown, and whether there was an attempt to defraud the State Board of Elections."
  23. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (August 7, 2018). "Special prosecutor investigating possible election fraud in Rep. Scott Taylor's race". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Harper, Jane (May 7, 2019). "Former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor campaign staffer indicted in petition forgery scandal". Daily Press. Newport News. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  25. ^ Wilson, Patrick (September 5, 2018). "Richmond judge finds 'out-and-out fraud' in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  26. ^ "Virginia | Full House results". CNN.Com.
  27. ^ "H.R.2772 - SEA Act of 2018". Congress.Gov.
  28. ^ Poulter, Amy. "Ashanti Alert becomes law after President Trump signs bill". Daily Press. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  29. ^ PONTON, BRENDAN. "Rep. Scott Taylor makes fighting sea-level rise around military bases a priority". WTKR - Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Coutu, Peter. "DoD Could Start Funding Off-Base Infrastructure Fixes for Sea Level Rise". Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  31. ^ Lambertsen, Kirsten (January 28, 2015). "Crowdfunding bill could make raising capital for new businesses easier". WSLS-TV.
  32. ^ "Small Business Crowdfunding Goes to Governor for Approval". National Federation of Independent Business. March 17, 2015.
  33. ^ "House Passes Del. Scott Taylor's Crowdfunding Bill". Virginia House GOP. February 2, 2015.
  34. ^ "HB 1967 Veterans Services Foundation". Virginia's Legislative Information System.
  35. ^ "2016 Session - HB 450 Comprehensive community colleges, certain; veterans advisors and veterans resource centers". Virginia's Legislative Information System.
  36. ^ Suderman, Alan (July 8, 2019). "Former Rep. Scott Taylor Announces US Senate Bid in Virginia". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  37. ^ a b c d e Bartel, Bill (February 20, 2017). "Large crowd frequently shouts at Rep. Scott Taylor during contentious town hall meeting". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  38. ^ "GOP Rep, Retired Navy SEAL: Trump's Syria Action 'Measured, Calculated'". Fox News. April 14, 2018.
  39. ^ Hooper, Molly (September 26, 2017). "WATCH: Freshman GOP lawmaker and former Navy SEAL walks a careful line on transgender troops". The Hill.
  40. ^ David, Cicilline, (June 2, 2017). "Cosponsors - H.R.2282 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Equality Act". Retrieved August 29, 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  41. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 29, 2017). "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017 – via The Denver Post.
  42. ^ a b Bartell, Bill (October 24, 2018). "Taylor and Luria spar over taxes, health care in their first debate". Daily Press. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  43. ^ Bartell, Bill (November 3, 2018). "Elaine Luria and Scott Taylor are locked in a close race. Here's where they stand on key issues". The Virginia Pilot. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  44. ^ "Cosponsors: H.R.1227 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)". July 25, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  45. ^ "Actions - H.R.1628 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): American Health Care Act of 2017".
  46. ^ Ford, Jay (April 20, 2010). "Q&A: Republican Hopeful for US Congress, Scott Taylor". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  47. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (January 8, 2018). "Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach comes out against offshore drilling". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  48. ^ Nelson, Louis (February 13, 2017). "Ex-Navy SEAL congressman: Trump and intel community need to get on the same page 'very quickly'". Politico.
  49. ^ "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. ABC News. October 10, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  50. ^ "Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security". February 23, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  51. ^ Wallace, Allan (February 21, 2015). "Playing politics puts administration in ex-sniper's sights". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

External linksEdit