VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Scott Taylor, a state House delegate and former Navy SEAL, won the 2nd District Republican primary Tuesday, beating U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes.
Forbes the first casualty of a newly redrawn Virginia congressional map, losing the sharp-elbowed primary against Taylor.
The race was marked by its negative tone, with Taylor accusing Forbes of acting “cowardly” and “abandoning” his former constituents. At issue: Forbes’ decision to run in the 2nd, rather than the 4th Congressional District he’s represented for 15 years. Forbes made the move after a federal panel of judges ordered Virginia’s congressional map to be redrawn, making his district far less friendly to Republicans.
Taylor was vastly outspent by Forbes, who played up his seniority on House budget matters, particularly on defense spending.
However, Forbes doesn’t live in the 2nd District, which could have contributed to the loss.
Taylor spoke outside his campaign celebration at Twist in Town Center after the race was called. State Senator Bill DeSteph introduced him to the crowd. Taylor thanked his family, 2nd District voters and everyone who worked on the campaign.
“I just think that we were highly organized and we had a great great team and we had the right message,” Taylor said. “People trust us to go do something about it… and that’s extremely humbling, and it’s not a responsibility that I take lightly.”
He also thanked his opponent, Forbes.
Cheers could be heard when Taylor took a phone call from Speaker Paul Ryan offering up congratulations.
10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox spoke to Forbes after the race had been called and asked why he thought he lost.
“We had a vision for the United States Navy and for protecting religious freedom… apparently we couldn’t get enough voters in the 2nd District to embrace that vision,” Forbes said.
“While I believe our region will have an impact on jobs and I believe it will have an impact on the Navy, I want you to know the sun is going to come up for me and I will have a lot less burden on my shoulders than I have had to carry for the last 16 years,” Forbes added.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell was at Forbes’ campaign celebration with his wife, Maureen McDonnell. Bob McDonnell told 10 On Your Side that he was shocked that Forbes lost and said he believes the region will be hurt.
In November, Taylor will be running against Shaun Brown, the Democratic candidate for the state’s Second Congressional District.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.