VIRGINIA BEACH — Former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor, a Virginia Beach Republican and business consultant who served as a U.S. Navy SEAL and was voted out of office two years ago, will now get a rematch with U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria as he seeks to again represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Taylor on Tuesday, June 23, defeated two candidates, Jarome Bell and Ben Loyola, to become the GOP nominee in the race. Before seeking his former office, Taylor had announced a challenge of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, but he decided to run against Luria again.
Also on Tuesday, June 23, Daniel Gade, a college professor and U.S. Army veteran who lives in Mount Vernon, won the Republican primary to run against Warner in the November general election.
“Now it’s time to come together,” Taylor told supporters at Cantina Laredo in Town Center after his victory was clear.
“Tomorrow, we’re standing shoulder to shoulder, and we’re taking this district back.”
Taylor also addressed Luria during his remarks before a crowd that filled much of the establishment, saying she had made promises to work with Republicans and President Trump to get things done, but had shown in office that this was not the case.
Taylor, a business consultant who previously served in the Virginia General Assembly, won 48.5 percent of the vote in a three-person race, according to returns reported by the state elections department last updated on Tuesday, June 30. Loyola, a businessperson, earned 29.4 percent of the vote and Jarome Bell, a school security officer, had 22.1 percent.
The three are U.S. Navy veterans – as is Luria.
The three candidates for the GOP nomination also are residents of Virginia Beach, which is where the majority of district voters live. Returns show Taylor won the vote in each locality of the district, including Virginia Beach, except he tied with Bell in Newport News – though relatively few votes were cast there across three precincts.
During an interview, Taylor said he felt great about the victory and appreciative of the support for his campaign.
“There were a lot of people who just wanted to make sure their voices were heard, and you have to respect that,” he said, speaking of voters who either went out to the polls or voted absentee during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“She’s been exposed,” Taylor added about Luria. “The reality is she’s not at all who she said she was, who she campaigned that she was. She’s exactly who we said she was. There’s a massive leadership deficit in this district. We’re looking to fill that.”
Taylor said he anticipated lots of out-of-state money coming into the race to help protect Luria’s seat, which was part of the Democrat’s takeover of the House of Representatives in 2018.
“We’re in the race, as always, to help people solve problems and get things done,” Taylor said. “My two years in Congress, as compared to Elaine’s two years in Congress – that’s exactly what we did on both sides of the aisle we passed legislation that helped people that are Democrats, Republicans and everything in between.”
“The reality is you have a different electorate. In 2018, the Democrats, to be fair, were motivated and had almost presidential (year)-level turnout,” Taylor said.
He said that party was organized and “massive amounts of money” came in to support Luria, who “posed” as a moderate.
“But things are different now,” Taylor said.
The district leans right, and there will be larger turnout because the presidency is on the ballot, too. He said he believes having President Trump at the top of the ticket helps.
During an interview late Tuesday, June 23, Bell thanks his supporters and said he hopes the nominee goes on to defeat Luria in November.
But Bell also said he plans to run for the seat again in two years.
“We will be back in 2022 to continue the fight,” Bell said.
Even if Taylor defeats Luria in November?
“Absolutely,” Bell said. “Because, without Ben Loyola in the race, I beat Scott Taylor.”
Loyola’s campaign did not respond to a call seeking comment.
In a statement released on social media the night of the primary, Loyola wrote, “Although we came short, I have no regrets about my decision to run and am deeply humbled by all the support I have received. With the primary behind us, it is imperative that we unite and defeat Elaine Luria in November.”
Luria, in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, June 24, wrote, “I’m focused on serving Coastal Virginians and issues that affect us like affordable healthcare, national security and rebuilding our economy. The choice is clear this November. I look forward to defeating Scott Taylor again.”
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