“As a veteran, family business owner, and mother, Elaine Luria’s message of fixing the dysfunction in Washington clearly resonates with coastal Virginia voters in a powerful way,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “Elaine’s overwhelming support in this primary is a testament to the strength of her local campaign and the excitement around having someone with her record of service and leadership running to win in this district. This is a key swing district, and Elaine Luria is ready to compete and flip it in November.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Jacob Peters, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: June 12, 2018
RE: The Case Against Rep. Scott Taylor
Despite his bluster and self-promotion, Rep. Scott Taylor is just another politician who consistently puts his political party ahead of his district.
Taylor recently voted to allow new leases for offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia, despite the negative impact on the local tourism industry, small businesses and the environment. Taylor has launched repeated attacks on affordable health care for Virginia families in Congress, the most recent of which has already led to big proposed healthcare premium hikes in the Commonwealth. Put simply, VA-02 deserves someone who will keep their promises and put the district first, unlike Scott Taylor.
When Elaine Luria entered the Naval Academy, women were not yet allowed to serve in combat roles. Twenty years later, she had become one of the first women to graduate from the Navy’s nuclear power program and one of just a handful to serve the entirety of her career on combatant ships. Before retiring as a Commander, Luria deployed six times to the Middle East and Western Pacific serving on destroyers, carriers, and ultimately as the Commanding Officer of a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors. Now Elaine owns and operates a family business with two locations, painting a strong contrast with Taylor’s failed, lawsuit-ridden business record.
As a veteran, Elaine understands the importance of standing up for the district’s military assets, military families, and veterans. As a family business owner, Elaine has lived the challenges of building a small business and knows how the tourism industry drives the local economy. A wife and mother, Elaine is running for Congress because she has a record of working with people to get things done and believes Washington desperately needs leaders who will get to work on creating good jobs and making health care more affordable.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New York Times: From Annapolis to Congress? These Three Women Know Tough Missions
“Democrats knew they needed to find a veteran in this military-dependent district, and they got one in former Naval Surface Warfare Officer and nuclear engineer Elaine Luria, who also owns a plaster mermaid-oriented gifts business.” [Cook Political Report 5.10.18]
Times of Israel: Navy commander who organized seder on aircraft carrier is running for Congress
Rep. Scott Taylor: Not the leader he pretends to be
Party Ahead of his District
Despite his focus on cable news and his many campaign promises, Scott Taylor has a long record of putting party loyalty ahead of the economic and personal security of those in his district. When given his first voting opportunity to take a stance against offshore drilling, Taylor voted against blocking new leases off the Virginia coast. He claims he will stand up to his own party, then he votes with Republicans 98% of the time, including on each of their major priorities. Taylor’s partisan blindness has gotten to the point where he silences and insults his own constituents on social media – not exactly the behavior of a middle of the road leader.
Failed Businessman Who Can’t be Trusted
Taylor is a failed real estate developer and business owner who has proven that he is fiscally irresponsible and cannot be trusted with his own finances, let alone the federal budget. Taylor has accumulated at least $1.5 million in legal judgements for failing to pay personal and business debts, including more than $800,000 for an unpaid loan from a failed real estate deal. In one case, Taylor changed the name and address of a gym he owned to avoid having his gym equipment seized after his landlord sued him for more than a year of unpaid rent amounting to nearly $150k.
Enemy of Affordable Health Care
Scott Taylor has been in Congress for less than two years, but his attacks on health care are already costing Virginia families. He voted for the Republican health care repeal bill that would have left 45,000 of his own constituents without health care. If Taylor had his way and that bill had passed, Virginia wouldn’t have been able to recently expand Medicaid to cover an additional 400,000 people in the commonwealth. Taylor’s vote for the GOP Tax Scam also gutted a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, which has already lead insurers to propose premium hikes as high as sixty four percent for Virginia families next year.
Taylor once again put his party ahead of his hard working constituents when he voted for a tax scam that gives eighty percent of its benefits to the wealthiest one percent. Taylor chose to reward lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies, all while adding $1.9 trillion to the national debt. And now Washington Republicans have opened the door to cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for their corporate give away.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
Elaine Luria’s profile as a barrier-breaking military veteran and successful family business owner make her a strong fit for this district, which is home to the world’s largest naval base and one of the highest populations of veterans. Luria’s success running a family business also creates a natural contrast with Taylor’s record of driving businesses into the ground. When combined with her message of ending the dysfunction in Washington, Luria has the ability to appeal to voters across the political spectrum.
Scott Taylor has yet to define himself to the voters, and is completely untested in a general election against a strong, well-funded opponent. Many of Taylor’s votes against health care, the environment and his disastrous business record have not been litigated in a competitive general election, and are sure to be damaging.
Luria is a strong fundraiser, outraising every other Democratic Congressional Candidate in Virginia in her first fundraising quarter. Taylor’s fiscal irresponsibility has apparently carried over from his failed businesses to his campaign, where he has spent nearly seventy percent of what he has raised this cycle despite facing only token primary opposition.
VA-02 is a true swing district that is trending towards Democrats. After narrowly supporting President Trump in 2016, it went for Governor Northam by four points in 2017. In fact, no congressional district in Virginia saw a swing as dramatic from 2016 to 2017 as VA-02, when Northam outperformed Clinton by more than six points. Democrats also flipped two seats in the House of Delegates that overlap with VA-02, including one that narrowly supported President Trump. That victory was largely fueled by Virginia Beach, the population center of VA-02, which definitively backed Northam after narrowly supporting Trump a year earlier. It was also fueled by enthusiasm from the district’s engaged African-American base – a group that accounts for nearly twenty percent of the district and provides another advantage for Luria. The 2017 results were a clear sign of rising Democratic support and enthusiasm in the region, as well as distaste for the dysfunction in Republican-led Washington.
A poll conducted in mid-April by PPP found that Luria trailed Taylor by just six percent, 42-48, before any spending to introduce herself to voters. The poll also found that Luria already enjoyed a slight enthusiasm gap amongst her supporters compared to Taylor, and a strong majority of voters had major concerns over Taylor’s vote to repeal health care.