A pair of decorated Navy veterans are, again, competing fiercely for a coastal Virginia House seat that’s home to a swath of military installations.
Rep. Elaine Luria, who swept into office in the 2018 Democratic wave, faces former Rep. Scott Taylor, a Republican she ousted as his campaign reeled from petition scandal.
Capturing support from military voters is key in the 2nd Congressional District, which runs from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg and includes eight major military installations.
Luria is an Annapolis graduate who rose to the rank of commander and spent the majority of her career deployed on Navy ships. In the House, she’s a member of the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
Taylor enlisted in the Navy after high school and made it to the SEALs. During the Iraq War, Taylor was a SEAL sniper and spent two years as a SEAL instructor, teaching marksmanship and reconnaissance, among other roles in the elite unit.
He then turned toward politics, with a three-year stint in Virginia’s House of Delegates before winning the open 2nd Congressional District seat in 2016.
But Taylor’s reelection bid against Luria got derailed when, in August 2018, a special prosecutor started investigating reports that members of his campaign staff had added fake names to ballot access petitions intended to help an independent candidate. One campaign aide was charged, though Taylor hasn’t been.
Like much of Virginia, the 2nd District in recent years has become more competitive for Democrats. President Trump beat Hillary Clinton there in 2016, 48%-45%. But Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam won the district in 2017, as did Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in his 2018 reelection bid.