Why Scott Taylor Is Worried About Trump

Republican congressman says Democrats’ strong showing in Virginia is referendum on administration

Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., left to right, Scott Taylor, R-Va., and Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., leave a meeting of the House Republican Conference last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., left to right, Scott Taylor, R-Va., and Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., leave a meeting of the House Republican Conference last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 8, 2017 at 8:17am

Republican Rep. Scott Taylor didn’t mince words when he said a wave of Democratic victories in Virginia were a “referendum” on the Trump administration and it could be because it spells trouble him next year.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam won the gubernatorial race and a number of Democratic challengers beat incumbent Republicans to win seats in the House of Delegates.

“I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration,” Taylor told  the New York Times. “Democrats turned out tonight, but I’m pretty sure there were some Republicans who spoke loudly and clearly tonight as well.”

Exit polls showed 60 percent of women voted for Northam compared to about an even split from men, according to ABC. This is a larger margin for Democrats than exit polls from 2016, which showed only 53 percent of women in Virginia voted for Hillary Clinton, according to CNN.

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President Donald Trump faulted Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie for not sufficiently supporting his policies.

But Taylor might also have been expressing concerns about his personal political prospects and whether Trump could become a political albatross for him and other members of Congress.

Taylor is a first-term Republican whose seat is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.

But on Tuesday, Democrats bested Republicans in many parts of the district that Taylor, a retired Navy SEAL, represents.

In Virginia Beach, where Taylor lives, Northam won with 51.8 percent of the vote, Attorney General Mark Herring won re-election with 50.14 percent of the vote, and Kelly Convirs-Fowler beat four-term incumbent Republican state Delegate Ron Villanueva.

Democrats won even more decisively in Northampton County, outside Virginia Beach, as Northam won with than 56.87 percent of the vote, and winning Democratic lieutenant candidate Justin Fairfax won with 53.3 percent of the vote.

Not all parts of his district went for Democrats, though. In Accomack County, Gillespie routed Northam by 8 points and incumbent Delegate Robert Bloxom, who also represents Northampton County, won re-election.

And in Virginia Beach, Republican lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Jill Vogel beat Fairfax by 2.4 points.

The 2nd District also includes the edges of Newport News, which voted overwhelmingly for Democrats.

So far, Democrats have multiple candidates to challenge Taylor, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting him as well.

Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock should also have reason to worry, as many parts of her 10th District voted Democrat.

In Loudon County, Northam beat Gillespie by almost 20 points, and Democratic challenger Wendy Gooditis beat incumbent Republican Delegate Randy Minchew.

Frederick County voted for Republicans but Manassas City voted overwhelmingly for Northam and elected Lee Carter, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, to the House of Delegates.

Comstock is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2018. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rated the race as “Tilt Republican.”

Like Taylor, Comstock has a laundry list of potential Democratic challengers for a district that voted for Hillary Clinton.