Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, said Luria’s support for articles of impeachment against President Trump convinced him to pursue a rematch against her.
In an interview on WAVY TV 10, he accused Luria, a former Navy commander, of “disgracefully using your military background to justify an empty impeachment which has taken away from the needs of the district and the country.”
Luria is one of seven freshman Democrats, five of them women, who announced their support for an impeachment inquiry in late September in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
“These girls that have national security backgrounds, they came out before there was any bit of evidence whatsoever, and they did so to create political cover for moderates to allow [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to move forward,” Taylor said early Monday on radio’s “John Fredericks Show.”
Responding to Taylor, Luria said: “Yes, I am a girl. I may wear heels now, but I wore steel-toed boots for 20 years in the Navy. It’s 2020 — girls can do anything.”
Taylor also said turnout in a presidential election year could benefit Republicans in a district that voted for Trump by about three percentage points.
Luria on Sunday endorsed former vice president Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Loyola’s campaign spokesman, Peter Finocchio, said there’s no reason to expect that voters will come back to Taylor.
“Scott Taylor had his chance and failed,” he said. “The issues that plagued his 2018 campaign will cause him to lose again. He also failed to stand up for conservative principles, often voting with lobbyists and Washington Democrats over the interests of his own constituents.”
Scott Rigell , Taylor’s predecessor in Congress, endorsed Loyola, whom Rigell defeated for the party nomination in 2010.
Former congressman J. Randy Forbes, whom Taylor defeated for the 2016 nomination, also endorsed Loyola. Forbes represented a neighboring district, but when lines were redrawn to put more Democrats in his district, he opted to challenge Taylor.
Taylor, who was raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore by a single mother, was deployed to Iraq as a Navy SEAL and served as a state delegate before winning a seat in Congress.
He lost to Luria amid a scandal over fraudulent signatures that his campaign collected to help a potential spoiler candidate get on the ballot.
In May, a special prosecutor filed two charges of election fraud against a Taylor staff member but did not say whether the former congressman broke any laws. The investigation is ongoing.
“I was devastated to learn about wrongdoing on the team,” Taylor said Monday in the TV interview. “But in the end, I’m responsible for it, and I think some voters held me accountable for it.”
The Post reported last month that in late 2018, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani proposed replacing the U.S. ambassador to Qatar with Taylor, who visited the country in 2017 and spoke at a Qatari event in Washington the following year.
Virginia Democrats seized on the switch as proof that Taylor couldn’t gain traction in the Senate race against Warner.
“Scott Taylor, who was fired by his constituents in the 2018 midterm election, couldn’t get his Senate campaign off the ground after failing to get the ambassador job that he wanted,” Virginia Democratic Party spokesman Grant Fox said in a statement.
Luria said Monday that she is looking forward to “seeing a spirited debate” among the various contestants in the Republican primary
Taylor told Fredericks that he plans to transfer a balance of about $167,000 in his Senate campaign account to his House campaign. Luria had about $1.1 million cash on hand at the end of September, reports show.
When he announced plans to challenge Warner in July, Taylor said that after running in eight contested primary and general elections in about a decade, shifting to the Senate’s six-year cycles made sense.
The independent analysts at Cook Political Report consider the Senate seat solidly Democratic. Republicans have not won a statewide seat in Virginia since 2009.