Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia) hopes to win re-election to his federal post, yet his campaign is now being investigated for possibly helping one of his opponents get onto the ballot using dubious methods.
That’s because that independent candidate would likely draw voters away from his other, more viable Democratic opponent, Elaine Luria, in a three-way general election campaign.
Four of Taylor's paid campaign staffers gathered signatures for Shaun Brown, a former Democrat who is trying to get on the November ballot as an independent. However, some of the names that they gathered are curious, to say the least, as signees who don’t live in the district anymore (let alone, some who don't live at all) somehow put their names on the petition.
Eileen Eady moved from the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia to Las Vegas years ago. She’s been registered to vote since 2014 in the state of Nevada. But her name showed up on Brown’s petition.
"I definitely didn’t sign anything and I definitely didn’t give permission for anybody to sign anything,” Eady said. ‘I was shocked because not only do I no longer live in Virginia Beach, but I’ve been voting here in Nevada since 2014. I’ve voted in three elections here.”
Another signature is even more disturbing. A man named R. Stuart Cake allegedly signed the nomination petition for Brown on June 9, just days before the deadline to turn in signatures. There’s just one problem: Stuart Cake died earlier this year, in April, months before his signature was obtained.
His widow, Elizabeth Cake, is understandably not happy about the matter. “There’s no way that could have been signed by him at any time,” she said in a radio interview.
Taylor has denied knowing about the effort to put names on the nomination papers that shouldn't belong there, insisting that it's impossible to know that individuals who are signing them are being truthful. "You have no idea when you’re collecting signatures who’s signing," he said. "So who knows.
But for someone who is worried about our nation's elections integrity, you'd think he'd take more responsibility for his campaign's actions. This is a candidate who, after all, vociferously insisted (without providing evidence) that voter fraud was a real problem in this country. Having now been caught with fake names on a petition to help another candidate get on the ballot, in turn helping his own reelection prospects, Scott’s statements from the past reek of hypocrisy today.
It is downright disgusting to use the names of dead individuals to win an election. Taylor denies knowledge or involvement in the actions of his staffers, but ultimately the buck stops with him. It is he who must be held responsible for his own campaign's actions.
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