The Democratic Party of Virginia had some strong words about Rep. Scott Taylor in connection with a Circuit Court judge’s ruling Wednesday to remove Shaun Brown’s name as a third-party candidate from the November ballot because of fraudulent signatures.
DPVA spokesman Jake Rubenstein said the ruling found “out and out fraud.”
“Today, Judge Gregory Rupe in Richmond Circuit Court found ‘forgery…perjury and out and out fraud.’ Today’s decision is win for the integrity of our elections,” Rubenstein wrote in an email Wednesday. “Rep. Scott Taylor and his staff refused to answer questions about who directed these fraudulent actions.”
The Democrats filed a lawsuit challenging the entry of the petition to include Brown as a third-party candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Taylor, a Republican.
The lawsuit claimed the petition contained fraudulent signatures – from people who said they never signed it.
The signatures were gathered by staff associated with Taylor and his reelection campaign. The move is an old political tactic – an effort to split a candidate’s opponent’s votes.
Taylor is running against Democrat Elaine Luria. Brown was the district’s Democratic candidate in 2016. The 2nd district includes Accomack and Northampton counties, portions of York County, and the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton.
In August, a Circuit Court judge in Virginia Beach appointed Donald R. Caldwell, commonwealth’s attorney for Roanoke, as special prosecutor to investigate the petition after Commonwealth’s Attorney for Virginia Beach Colin D. Stolle filed the request.
Stolle said his office “is so situated with respect to potential witnesses in this matter as to render it improper for this office to make any potential charging decisions or to prosecute such potential charges.”
“This matter is in the investigatory stage regarding potential violations of the Code of Virginia, including violations of election laws and forgery,” Stolle wrote in his petition in August.
“Rep. Taylor owes his constituents answers about his involvement in the fraud and forgery cited by the judge,” Rubenstein said.
Taylor was unavailable for comment.