Say you’re a former Republican Congressman who lost his seat in the blue wave of 2018. Donald Trump carried your district in 2016, and you ran five points better than your Senate running mate who lost the district by ten points (VPAP ). In theory, the Democrat who defeated you by a mere 6,000 (out of over a quarter million cast) should be at her weakest next year, with little incumbency advantage in a presidential election for a district that has gone Republican at the presidential level for decades.
Do you try to win your old seat back?
Not if you’re Scott Taylor. Instead, you decide to run for the U.S. Senate (Richmond Times Dispatch ).
Republican former Rep. Scott Taylor says he’s running for U.S. Senate in Virginia, hoping to unseat Democrat Mark Warner.
Taylor said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” on Monday “we have a leadership crisis in Virginia” and “we need a fresh start in the Senate.”
Taylor’s decision tells us all we need to know about the fate of the Republican Party in Virginia … and it’s not good.
A confident Scott Taylor would be looking to rely on that support to get his old seat back. A confident Republican Party of Virginia would be looking for the best way to reclaim the 2nd District – and it would be difficult to find anyone better than the most recent Congressman for the party — the fellow with enough local heft and support to beat Randy Forbes in a primary on the way to outperforming Trump by 12 points in November 2016 …
… in a district, I would remind you, that Trump himself carried.
Taylor made a different choice — the Fox, Friends, and Fundraising route.
Keep in mind, the Democrats haven’t lost a U.S. Senate election in Virginia since 2000 (they sat out John Warner’s last re-election). Even in the pre-Trump era, the best the GOP could do was Ed Gillespie’s near miss against Mark Warner in 2014 – in a year where Republicans won Senate seats in Colorado and Maine. To go from a highly competitive House district to a decidedly uncompetitive Senate race makes little sense …
… unless you’ve decided that House seat really isn’t competitive after all.
This is where the standard-issue, press-release confidence of the RPV breaks down. A party that truly felt it could win back the seats lost in 2018 would not watch one of the former incumbents who lost a cliffhanger race decide to charge a windmill instead of preparing for a rematch. Taylor’s announcement is an admission — he can’t win in Virginia Beach in 2020 …
… which begs the question, can any Republican win Virginia Beach?
If not, can a Republican Party that has lost Virginia Beach win statewide? Nationwide?