Two months after a staffer on his unsuccessful reelection campaign was indicted for election fraud, former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) announced he would be running for a higher office: the U.S. Senate.
“We are underdogs, there’s no question,” Taylor said on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, referring to his potential race against Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), if nominated to be his Republican opponent.
But, he said, “we the people have been taking left hooks for years and years and years, and we might hit the canvas, but we’re gonna get back up, dust our knees off and move forward.” Taylor released a flashy YouTube video Monday as well.
“Scott Taylor is an experienced campaigner, having run or explored running for five different offices in the past decade,” Warner’s campaign manager, Bruce Sinclair, said in a statement Monday. “We welcome Scott Taylor to the race and wish him the best of luck in the Republican primary.”
In May, former Taylor campaign staffer Lauren Creekmore was indicted on two counts of election fraud for her role in a petition forgery scheme that a state judge had earlier called “out and out fraud.”
Several petition sheets collected by Taylor staffers on behalf of an independent candidate contained forged signatures, an apparent effort by the staffers to get a third name on the ballot and siphon votes from the race’s eventual victor, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA). Taylor kept paying Creekmore and others who submitted forged signatures even after the scandal made national headlines.
The special prosecutor investigating the forgeries said in a press release accompanying Creekmore’s indictment that “a number of the questionable petitions are confined to a group of six to eight people.”
The prosecutor, Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell, told TPM Monday that “[t]he investigation continues into all aspects of potential election improprieties surrounding the petitions filed by the Independent Candidate Ms. [Shaun] Brown which have been traced back to people associated with the Taylor campaign.”
Taylor’s first known reaction to the alleged signature forgeries, as reported by TPM, was an attempt to bury the story. After a local Democratic volunteer posted online about a forged signature belonging to her former neighbor, who’d moved to Nevada and wasn’t eligible to sign a petition form, Taylor called the Democrat and pressured her to scrub the allegation from the web. After the Creekmore indictment, Taylor, who’s claimed ignorance of his staffers’ activities, threatened defamation lawsuits.