Decision 2020: Elaine Luria vs. Scott Taylor (VA-02)

Mani Tangellamudi ’24

Elaine Luria, Official Portrait, 116th Congress
Elaine Luria. U.S. House Office of Photography/House Creative Services, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Virginia 2nd Congressional District encompasses Accomack, Northampton, and York counties and is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in Virginia. As a district, it has traditionally held conservative representatives in office, with 8 in 10 being Republican in the past ten elections. The district is 67% white and has an average income of $70K, about $15K higher than the average, giving some reason behind a Republican history and reason to the district being R+3. Moreover, there was redistricting in 2012 that was deemed unconstitutional in 2016 and had no effect on the party that held office the year the redistricting was changed.

Now, in 2020, the one of two Democrats to hold office in the past 20 years is facing reelection. Elaine Luria (D), the incumbent, is being challenged by Scott Taylor (R), a previous representative from 2016-2018. The county is considered a pivot county and will be impactful in affecting the state’s Congressional delegation.

Elaine Luria is the Democratic representative for the district and was in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. She was deployed six times and commanded a fleet of 400 soldiers shortly before she retired in 2017, ultimately becoming a small business owner and running for office. Luria has used her leadership positions and real world experience to help her legislation. Moreover, she has been a strong advocate for allocating funding towards veterans, education, and supported numerous bills towards social change.

Scott Taylor official photo
Scott Taylor. Kristie Boyd, US House of Representatives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scott Taylor is the challenging Republican representative for the district and lost as an incumbent in the 2018 election to Luria. He was a Navy SEAL and was later wounded in 2005 in Iraq, ultimately leading him to serve as a marksman instructor until 2017, when he graduated from Harvard University. Taylor has been a big advocate for assisting veterans and also has established funds for growing local businesses. Taylor suggests his hardships as a SEAL give him perspective to succeed in office.

The district is quite competitive though. Taylor has accused Luria for having below average casework while Luria has accused Taylor of election fraud. Campaign ads have been run consistently against their opponents, with the attempt of creating distrust for their opponent. In terms of finances, Luria has received more funding, with regards to receipts, disbursements, and cash on hand, by nearly three times as much funding as Taylor, at an estimated $12 million and $4 million, respectively. Moreover, notable endorsements for Luria are endorsements from Obama and Biden while Taylor has been endorsed by Trump.

Currently, both are actively on the course to fight for their spot to represent the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia, and it has been one of the most expensive races in Virginia. The race ratings have consistently rated it as lean Democrat, however some sources claim it is a toss up. When it is all said and done, the race will have a high voter turnout this year as more people will vote during this election cycle to pick their president.

Bibliography

“Elaine Luria.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/Elaine_Luria.

Luria, Elaine G. “Elaine G. Luria.” Congress.gov, www.congress.gov/member/elaine-luria/L000591?searchResultViewType=expanded.

“Scott Taylor (Virginia).” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/Scott_Taylor_(Virginia).

“Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/Virginia’s_2nd_Congressional_District.

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