Updated: I took the question mark off. It is clear that the PAC is trying to influence this election. See updates at the bottom.
It sure looks like it. Over the past week, I’ve received three robocalls from a PAC supporting the Republican incumbent, Scott Taylor.
Next Tuesday, June 12, voters in the 2nd Congressional District will cast their ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primary. The candidates in the Democratic primary are Elaine Luria and Karen Mallard.
The first call came Wednesday evening. The female recorded voice bashed Luria for her two votes for Taylor – one in the primary and another in the general.
I received an earlier call about the same thing, at some point after the candidate forum hosted by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee, which I moderated. At the time of the first call, I remember thinking that was a pretty divisive thing to do, as I thought that call came from Mallard.
As I listened Wednesday, one thing struck me as odd: the caller used referred to Shaun Brown not by name but as Taylor’s 2016 “Democrat” opponent. Again, I wasn’t listening closely and thought I had mis-heard it. I noted, though, that the call was from a third party, not the Mallard campaign.
When the call came Thursday night, it was identical to the Wednesday one. Nope, I had not mis-heard the “Democrat” opponent characterization. That was a tell: Republicans have intentionally misused “Democrat” for years. I tweeted about it, which prompted the question of the name of the PAC. I hadn’t caught it.
Friday night’s call was a little different. The PAC identified itself as S-C-R-A-P PAC, both at the beginning and the end of the call. (They spelled out the letters – rather than pronouncing it as a word.) The content was the same – but this time, the caller was careful to say “Democratic opponent” (because of my tweet?). I looked up the PAC and didn’t find anything. However, after tweeting the name of the PAC, somebody else did:
Bingo! Take a look at the Twitter page for @ScrapPac. No postings since February but its last one is telling:
When I was first informed that Luria had voted in the 2016 primary for Taylor, I completely dismissed it as disqualifying – because I had done the same thing. A whole lot of Dems I know did it and with good reason: to keep Randy Forbes out.
Luria’s general election vote was reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and, to be honest, was pretty upsetting to me that it was made public. I think the privacy of the voting booth is important. The vote, by itself, was no more disqualifying for me than Ralph Northam’s two votes for Bush. Disconcerting, yes, but that’s because in neither case was that my choice. I feel strongly that we have to give people the room to grow and evolve. (Unlike some, I’m giving Richard Painter the benefit of the doubt on this.)
I have not endorsed in this race and remain undecided on who I will vote for Tuesday. The fact that the Republicans are trying to influence the outcome, though, has me leaning towards Luria. As always, my ultimate decision will be based on who I think is the best candidate. Weighing on me even more than usual is who I think has the best chance to win in the fall.
I believe our democracy is in peril. Things are actually worse than I ever imagined. We have to try to stop the dismantling of our institutions. We cannot afford to return to Washington anyone who supports Don the Con. Although I like him and he has done some good things, Taylor cannot be re-elected in November. There is too much at stake.
Whomever is the Democratic candidate after Tuesday has my wholehearted support. I will find the time and the money to help her win.
Update 2:18pm: I found a recording and transcript of the 6/6/18 call here. In case it gets taken down, here is a screenshot.
Update 2:43pm: Looking at my wife’s cell phone and see four text messages (she never looks at her phone unless I’m calling), from different numbers and all sent this week. No idea how they got the number. The messages as follows:
- 6/5/18 4:36 PM from (757) 267-6538: “Karen Mallard is a lifelong Democrat: gun control, pro-choice, universal healthcare, increase min wage. Elaine Luria voted for Scott Taylor TWICE! Knew Taylor was endorsed by NRA, pro-Trump, anti-ACA & voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Taylor will beat Luria. Vote Mallard for Congress June 12!”
- 6/7/18 7:39 PM from (804) 352-2711: “DEMOCRAT VOTER ALERT: Elaine Luria says she is a Democrat, but voted for Scott Taylor – TWICE- in 2016. She even voted for him over a fellow Democrat in the General Election. Read more here: https://luriavotesrepublican.com”
- 6/7/18 3:22 PM from (757) 300-0237: “DEMOCRAT VOTER ALERT: The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Elaine Luria (D?) voted for Scott Taylor TWICE. Read the story here: luriavotesrepublican.com”
- 6/8/18 6:22 PM from (804) 375-5317: “The Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia publicly thanked Elaine Luria for supporting Scott Taylor. Luria voted for Scott Taylor in 2016 over his Democratic opponent. Why are Republicans thanking Elaine Luria? Click here to read more luriavotesrepublican.com”