Scott Taylor (politician)

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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 39)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationOld Dominion University
Harvard University (BLA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1997–2005
UnitNavy SEALs
Battles/warsIraq War

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]

Early life and career[edit]

Scott William Taylor[2] 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.[3]

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.[4][3]

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 the Harvard Extension School[5] and also received a certificate in government contracting from Old Dominion University.

Political career[edit]

In 2008, Taylor ran for Mayor of Virginia Beach, Virginia.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8][9]

House of Representatives[edit]

2016 election[edit]

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,[10][11] then defeated Democrat Shaun Brown, 61.3% to 38.5%, to win the general election on November 8, 2016.[12] Taylor is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership,[13] as well as of the Republican Study Committee[14] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[15]

2018 election and ballot fraud investigation[edit]

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%.[16] In the Republican primary, Taylor readily defeated Mary Jones, 76% to 24%.[17]

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.[18][19] 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."[20] In August, following allegations that some of the signatures gathered by his staff were forged, Taylor fired his campaign consultant, Rob Catron, saying "My campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate activities."[21][22]

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 and a former campaign consultant. The staffers and the former consultant 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. A criminal investigation into ballot fraud in the matter by a Virginia state special prosecutor continues to be active.[23]

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.[24]

Political stances[edit]


Taylor personally opposes abortion and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion but supports a woman's right to decide whether to have an abortion.[25]


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".[26]

LGBT rights[edit]

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."[2]

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.[27]

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.[28]

National security[edit]

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."[29]

Cannabis legalization[edit]

On February 27, 2017, Taylor was an original cosponsor for bill H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.[30]


On May 4, 2017, Taylor voted Yes on H.R. 1628 (AHCA of 2017).[31]

Energy and the environment[edit]

Taylor accepts that climate change is happening, but argues that there are questions as to humans' contribution to climate change.[25] Taylor said, "there are the questions about what man can do about" climate change.[25]

During Taylor's unsuccessful congressional primary campaign in 2010, he voiced support for offshore oil drilling along Virginia's coast.[32]

In 2018, after President Donald 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.[33]

In January 2018, Taylor expressed opposition to President Trump's plan to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.[33]

Donald Trump[edit]

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."[34]

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.[25]

As of October 2018, FiveThirtyEight found that Taylor voted with Trump's position 97.8% of the time.[35]


He published a book in February 2015, Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and The Selling Out of America's National Security.[36] 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 in turn was caused by a foreign-policy doctrine that placed U.S. interests underneath partisan politics.[37]


  1. ^ a b Finley, Ben (November 6, 2018). "Luria Defeats Taylor in Virginia's 2nd House District". US News and World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Payne, Kimball (June 6, 2010). "BIO: Scott Taylor". Daily Press. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Leon, Melissa (April 20, 2018). "Congressman and former Navy SEAL takes selfie with his protestors". American Military News.
  4. ^ "From the deserts of Yemen to DC: One freshman congressman's journey". Washington Examiner. December 30, 2016.
  5. ^ "Two Harvard Extension School alumni elected to U.S. House of Representatives". Harvard Gazette. November 21, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (February 18, 2016). "Va. House vote hints at a generational divide on gay rights". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  8. ^ Tapper, Jake (August 21, 2012). "President Obama Says He Doesn't Take Anti-Obama Navy SEALs Group "Too Seriously"". ABC News.
  9. ^ McConnell, Dugald (August 17, 2012). "Former special forces officers slam Obama over leaks on bin Laden killing". CNN.
  10. ^ Dilanian, Ken (August 16, 2012). "Group attacking Obama for security leaks includes past talkers". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Shaun Brown". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  14. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  16. ^ "In US House Race, Former Navy Commander Targets Former SEAL". WBOC-TV. May 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Elaine Luria". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Prosecutor will investigate candidate's ballot paperwork". Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Associated Press. August 7, 2018. p. 5.
  19. ^ Ress, Dave (August 7, 2018). "More complaints of false names on petitions for Hampton candidate". Daily Press. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (August 7, 2018). "Special prosecutor investigating possible election fraud in Rep. Scott Taylor's race". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Virginia | Full House results". CNN.Com.
  25. ^ a b c d 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.
  26. ^ "GOP Rep, Retired Navy SEAL: Trump's Syria Action 'Measured, Calculated'". Fox News. April 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Hooper, Molly (September 26, 2017). "WATCH: Freshman GOP lawmaker and former Navy SEAL walks a careful line on transgender troops". The Hill.
  28. ^ David, Cicilline, (June 2, 2017). "Cosponsors - H.R.2282 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Equality Act". Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Cosponsors: H.R.1227 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)". July 25, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  31. ^ "Actions - H.R.1628 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): American Health Care Act of 2017".
  32. ^ Ford, Jay (April 20, 2010). "Q&A: Republican Hopeful for US Congress, Scott Taylor". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  33. ^ a b Portnoy, Jenna (January 8, 2018). "Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach comes out against offshore drilling". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  34. ^ Nelson, Louis (February 13, 2017). "Ex-Navy SEAL congressman: Trump and intel community need to get on the same page 'very quickly'". Politico.
  35. ^ "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. ABC News. October 10, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security". February 23, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  37. ^ Wallace, Allan (February 21, 2015). "Playing politics puts administration in ex-sniper's sights". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott Rigell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Elaine Luria